6 Best Cold Remedies To Shorten Your Sickness
Despite already enduring a miserable run of cold weather, winter is only officially kicking off this week. And now that we’ve reached that time of the year, it’s not only a crucial point in the footy season, but also the season for colds and flu.
Colds and flu are both infectious diseases of the respiratory tract and have many similar symptoms including nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, fever, headaches and fatigue.
They are damn annoying, causing us to miss work, social functions and other activities. Luckily, Health Helper has put together a list of the best cold remedies to help shorten your sickness and the severity of it. Some of them may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how often we overlook some of these strategies when we’re not quite with it!!
1. Drink plenty of water
When you catch a cold, the most important thing to do is drink a LOT of water. I’m talking 8-10 glasses a day! This not only helps flush out the infection but also stops you from becoming dehydrated.
Warm lemon and honey water is also a great idea, with the lemon giving you a vitamin C boost and the honey providing antibacterial benefits and helping reduce your cough and sore throat.
Tea is also a good choice as it is full of antioxidants and can boost your immune system.
2. Minimise your food intake.
Some people think you need to eat lots to keep up your strength when you’re sick. But the opposite is true. Digestion uses vast amounts of energy so cutting back on food means your body is able to put more effort into healing and repair.
Clear soups are the best foods such as the renowned cold remedy, chicken noodle soup. Chicken contains cysteine which helps reduce mucus in the lungs, and the hot liquid from the soup helps keep moisture in the nasal passage, prevents dehydration, and fights inflammation in the throat.
Spices such as turmeric, ginger and garlic are also great in your food.
3. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and sugars.
This should be obvious but for those who need an explanation, grab a beer and listen up! (note for people who can’t pick up on sarcasm, put down the beer) Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, meaning they produce an increased amount of urine which can dehydrate the body.
Processed foods offer nothing in terms of nutritional value but can also contain ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG and artificial colours, which all supress the immune system. I Quit Sugar has made a great list of delicious healthy winter meals packed with natural goodness!
4. Reduce your stress levels
The more stressed you are, the greater the capacity for your body to struggle. Heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten and blood pressure rises. All of which can lead to reduced immune function.
Acupuncture is great for reducing stress, and also stimulates the production of white blood cells that help fight infection and protect the body from disease.
Taking time off from the stresses of work when you’re sick will also help you to recover faster. It’s better to miss a couple of days and recuperate rather than struggle in the office for a fortnight, unable to get better!
Getting your partner to look after you and do all the housework definitely helps too!
5. Inhale steam with eucalyptus oil
I wouldn’t be an Aussie if I didn’t mention this cold remedy, it’s truly bonza mate! Eucalyptus is well known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties, and acts as a perfect decongestant as well as relieving headaches.
- Boil the kettle and pour the steaming water into a bowl.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil into the water.
- Place a towel over your head (no racist remarks please)
- Lean down to the bowl and inhale the steam.
I find that it works best if you mix up the breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for a while, then change and breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose.
Extra note: you can also rub an ointment containing eucalyptus onto your chest to clear nasal passages and ease chest pain
6. Take an immune booster that contains echinacea or ginseng
This is probably my FAVOURITE cold remedy since it is easy to implement and works very quickly with strong, positive effects. Perfect for humans that are time poor and impatient!
Echinacea is a powerful herb that helps to stimulate the immune system. Studies have shown that echinacea:
- reduces the likelihood of catching a common cold by 58 percent, and
- reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days
There are a lot of nutritional supplements out there but not all are created equal. Two really stand out to me that contain high quality ingredients and have proven to significantly reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu.
Probably the best product I have found for shortening sickness. If you feel a cold coming on, this will stop it progressing into a full blown cold. And if you’re too late, this will clear it up much quicker. Contains echinacea, ginseng, rosemary, hawthorn and other natural ingredients. Keep a bottle in your pantry and when a family member gets a sniffle, you’re onto it!
I’ve also had success with this supplement to help get over colds. Contains standardised andrographis and olive leaf with echinacea.
We hope you find these tips helpful. For information on sickness prevention by increasing immunity and nutritional levels, click here.