It’s that time of the year again – cold and flu season. Chances are at some point this winter, you will experience the runny nose, aching head, congestion, and coughing that comes with a nasty cold. Before you head to the store to buy out their stock of cold medicine, you might want to try some natural cold relief remedies.
Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I wholeheartedly agree. I think so many of today’s diseases and illnesses are preventable by eating a healthy diet. That being said, even those of us with the healthiest diets still fall prey to the common cold. I came down a cold a couple of days ago after my kids brought it home from school. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about “letting food be thy medicine” when it comes to natural cold relief.
While there is no cure for the common cold, there are certainly foods that help boost the immune system and foods that have antibacterial properties. (And a healthy diet in general with plenty of fruits and vegetables may help you from getting a cold in the first place.)
Foods that may help ease cold symptoms:
- Raw garlic has antibacterial properties. You may find if you eat it raw straight, it can irritate your stomach. If that is the case, try mashing it, mixing it with a bit of butter, and spreading it on toast.
- Raw honey also has antibacterial properties. In addition, it can help soothe a cough by coating the back of your throat. Remember though to never ever feed any honey to children under the age of 2.
- Vitamin C can help boost immunity. Foods high in vitamin C are citrus, strawberries, Kiwi, Papaya, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower.
- Chicken broth is a great tool to have in your natural cold relief arsenal. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease cold symptoms as demonstrated by a University of Nebraska Medical Center study. You can either drink it straight or make it into a soup. I recommend homemade chicken broth. It’s easy to make in a crockpot!
- Hot fluids in general can help wash out the back of your throat from drainage. In addition, the hot fluid may kill lingering bacteria in your throat.
- Plenty of water. When you have a cold, your nasal passages are inflamed. If you are dehydrated, it can cause thickening of mucus which just makes you more miserable. Drinking plenty of water can help thin the secretions a bit and make them easier to expel.
Foods to avoid when you have a cold:
- Milk and other dairy products. Dairy can cause thickening of the mucus, which makes it harder to breathe when your sinuses are already inflamed.
- Alcohol and caffeine. These are diuretics and can cause dehydration when consumed in excess, which can lead to thickened mucus as mentioned above. In addition, caffeine may keep you awake when you really should be resting.
Other Natural Ways to Ease the Symptoms of a Cold
- Rest – While most busy moms might laugh at the thought of getting to rest while they are sick, it really can help bolster your immune system. Take a nap when your kids do. Tape your favorite shows and go to bed early. Have your husband cook dinner or get take out. These are all ways you can catch some extra sleep. It is amazing the difference a few extra hours of sleep can make when you are run down from a cold.
- Use a Neti Pot to help cleanse your nasal passages. My husband thinks it is disgusting, but it does help clear my nasal passages. I think that it works even better as a preventative treatment though. Neti pots are used in many other cultures as part of their daily hygiene rituals.
So tell me… what do you do to help ease a cold? Have you tried any of these natural cold relief treatments?