Natural Interventions for Cold and Flu Season
Keeping your immune system in good shape during cold and flu season is crucial. This means optimizing your vitamin and mineral status and being especially aware of the importance of vitamin D! Vitamin D levels tend to drop in the winter, making people more susceptible to colds and seasonal effective disorder. Making sure your gut microbiome is healthy, getting sufficient sleep, eating a balanced diet (don't over do it on carbs and sugar during the holidays), staying active and practicing healthy stress management techniques are a must.
The majority of colds are caused by viruses, meaning antibiotics are not an effective treatment option. There are some general strategies to follow if you do end up catching a cold:
-Sleep as much as you can. Insufficient amounts of sleep have been linked to decreased immunity and an increase in inflammation.
-Avoid sugar: this can actually weaken your immune system and worsen inflammation.
-Limit dairy: which can cause additional inflammation and mucus production.
-Hydrate: When you are under the weather, your body requires additional hydration to recover. Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water can be a good hydration goal. If you notice a decrease in your appetite, drinking bone broths can help provide your body with much needed nutrients when you're sick.
-Eat the rainbow: eating a variety of vegetables and fruits can provide your body with much needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help boost your immune system.
Supplements that I like to take when I have a cold include high doses of liposomal vitamin C, garlic (which is an antiviral and antimicrobial) and zinc lozenges. These natural interventions can help reduce cold symptoms, strengthen your immune system and reduce the duration of your cold. Ginger tea has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects that can help with soothing a sore throat. It also contains powerful antioxidants such as oleoresin, which act as a natural cough suppressant!.