Nobody likes to be unwell with a cold! Feeling as though all your energy has been sucked away, feeling grotty, and with no other option but to stay in your warm and safe bed to ride out the snot storm!
This guide highlights natural ways to stay healthy, boost the immune system, and how to fight a common cold.
We should all take note of old-fashioned remedies thought by our parents and grandparents. Chicken soup is one such remedy, and it is suitable for young or old as treatment for a cold. It tastes even better when eating it in bed or under a blanket on the sofa! It’s an easy recipe to prepare but if you need to prepare it yourself and feel too unwell, you can of course find it in shops. The proteins, vitamins and minerals contained in chicken soup are important and will help your body fight illness. The fluid part of the soup will increase hydration, work against a fever and even help to clear congestion. Not a fan of chicken? Don’t panic, vegetable broths will work magic as chicken soup!
The vegetable associated with superstitions! There are endless ways that garlic has been used over the years and records go back over 5000 years. Not all these records and myths include consumption though.
Ancient Egyptian records show that those who built the pyramids were given raw garlic as their daily food ration to increase strength andward away illness. In Greece, it became customary for midwives to hang garlic near birthing rooms to keep evil spirits away. And of course, there is the popular legend whereby garlic was hung in windows or on doors to ward off vampires as well as being worn around the neck and rubbed on keyholes within the home.
But why is garlic beneficial when we’re under the weather? Studies have shown garlic to have antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties! This sounds like the functions we need from food when suffering with a cold. Garlic has a wonderful, strong flavour so why not try adding it to a broth; you’ll be sure to taste the flavour and hopefully be able to smell it! Add our creamy garlic sauce to one of your dishes.
The sweet, sticky, amber or golden goodness from our fluffy worker bees! Honey is a great way to soothe a sore throat and ease a dry, tickly cough because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (studies have shown, although not a complete cure, honey can shorten the amount of time a cold lasts when consumed).
There are many quick and easy ways to consume honey, the easiest being straight from the jar! Be sure to use a spoon, unlike Winnie the Pooh, and remember that honey is a natural sweetener so go easy on the goodness!
Try mixing a teaspoon of honey into your morning tea, instead of sugar. If you’re a Greek yoghurt or granola fan, try adding honey for extra sweetness, and top with antioxidant rich blueberries.
Strictly for over 18’s and perfect on a cold winter’s evening, mix yourself a hot toddy! Designed as a night cap as it contains whisky, this old school remedy made by adding hot water, honey and lemon to a shot of whisky can temporarily relieve cold symptoms and aid a good night’s sleep. Please drink responsibly and there’s no need to use top shelf expensive whisky for this cocotion!
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but this strange looking vegetable has been used in cooking, home remedies and herbal medicine for many years.
The smell of ginger is a well-known remedy for reducing nausea during pregnancy, and it’s even better if you can drink ginger tea or eat a ginger biscuit when your nausea kicks in. Ginger is also known for pain relief and reducing inflammation, as well as a great way to soothe sinus pain. Boil raw ginger in hot water, brew it as a tea, or incorporate into stir-fries.
Our tip, make sure anything shop bought contains real ginger e.g. extract and not just flavouring as you won’t get the same benefits.
Eating soft foods when you have a sore throat is key, and a banana is the perfect solution as the potassium bananas contain will help boost your body’s much needed electrolytes. When your body is fighting a cold, you require these to help your body to function and fight the nasty virus. There are many bright coloured energy drinks available in stores these days, also designed to replenish your electrolytes. However, these contain a high amount of added sugar and dyes so be mindful when choosing between a healthy banana or a blue energy drink.
Vitamin C is a key nutrient when battling a cold because it supports and helps the immune system to function properly. Oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, blackcurrants and blueberries (to name a few) all contain vitamin C. Even better, bright coloured food such as strawberries contain an additional helping aid; anthocyanins which are known for their antioxidant and antiviral properties.
Add some of the above fruits into a blender together with ice, yoghurt, or milk and you’ll have yourself a smoothie in no time – another soft idea for your ternder throat! Remember the benefits of honey? Why not add a spoonful to the smoothie for some natural sweetness.
Green leafy vegetables
Perfect for the veggies amongst us these are packed with minerals, fibre, and vitamins to keep us healthy. Like most foods and remedies discussed above, these green leafy friends, especially dark green vegetables like spinach, contain antioxidants and protect our bodies from cell damage.
A quick and easy meal to whip up when your cold has sucked away all your energy is a spinach omelette. Protein and antioxidants consumed within minutes. Spinach and kale can also be added to your chicken soup or veggie broth!
Did you know this popular fish is one of the best sources of protein? It is rich in omega-3, has anti-inflammatory properties and is fully equipped to boost your immune system! Perhaps, this is also why bears have mastered the art of catching it in rivers and eating it fresh! While we don’t recommend channelling your inner bear, consuming salmon when you have a cold, or on a regular basis helps keep a strong immune system to help fight off viruses.
What to drink?
As well as eating properly, staying hydrated is also key in helping your body to function well.
Water is the best way to stay hydrated and can be consumed hot or cold, but sometimes this can become boring and you may crave something more exciting and tasty especially when you’re not feeling great.
Fruit juices such as orange contain vitamin C, but just be mindful of the sugar content in some shop bought products. Squeezing fresh oranges is the best way to get a 100% natural version.
Herbal teas (mint, chamomile, raspberry) help to increase water consumption. Some herbal teas such as green tea, can contain caffeine though which is not recommended as these can cause dehydration!
Honey and lemon tea, an all-time favourite,is available in cafes across the globe! Order hot or iced honey and lemon – perfect for those on the go!
Please note that these are ways to feed a cold, but none of the above is designed to cure a cold, and we advise you to seek medical advice should your symptoms persist.