“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Colds don’t just hit during the winter months – no, summer colds are equally likely. Maybe even more likely, if you sit in an air-conditioned office all day, alternating between dry cold and the humid heat of outdoors. If this summer finds you afflicted, then at the first sign of symptoms, give these natural cures for the common cold a try. They just might work to head it off, or at least encourage that virus to move along a little faster!
Juice it Out
We have a wide variety of immune system bolstering juices at Intelligent Gourmet, and not all of them include OJ. In fact, one of my favorites might surprise you: Spicy Lemonade. Your body chemistry is affected by everything you eat, and if you’ve been eating a diet a little too high in processed foods and sugar, you could create an acidic internal environment that is a breeding ground for viruses. Drinking lemon juice (minus the sugar of traditional lemonade) helps swing your chemistry back the other way, creating an alkaline environment that is not friendly to sickness. My Spicy Lemonade also has chili pepper which not only feels great on a sore throat and gets congestion moving, it also jump starts your metabolism.
Supplement Your Immune System
Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc have all been lauded for their cold-soothing properties. The first two boost the immune system response, and Zinc is anti-viral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. The trick to taking Zinc is to look for supplements made with zinc acetate or zinc gluconate – studies have shown that these are more effective than zinc glycinate or zinc citrate.
Chicken Soup for the Body & Soul
Your mother brought you chicken soup when you were sick, and science backs up her home remedy. Chicken soup has cysteine, a natural amino acid released as the chicken cooks that thins out lung secretions so they don’t clog air passages, and helps you cough them up (ridding your body of infected fluid). Chicken soup also has carrots, which boost vitamin A, which helps prevent and fight infection by supporting white blood cell function. Not willing to sacrifice a chicken to the cause? Cysteine is similar to the prescription drug acetylcysteine, usually given to bronchitis patients. However, don’t just buy any chicken soup in a can – read the ingredients label! Chicken soup can be packed with too much salt, preservatives, modified starches, and even MSG. The good news is, chicken soup is easy to make at home. Cook a delicious chicken dinner the night before, and use the leftover carcass the next day to make your very own broth. You’ll need a big pot, 6-8 cups water, carrots, onions and celery, sea salt to taste, a dash of turmeric and about 3 hours minimum of boiling time. If the flavor isn’t rich enough, you can boost it with good quality organic store-bought chicken stock (but check the label!).
Good Old-Fashioned Sunshine
When you’re coming down with a cold, you’re probably tempted to curl up on your couch and marathon through the last season of Downton Abbey. But, recent studies of the effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections indicate that fresh air and sunshine are a better cure. One study reported that people with low vitamin D levels had significantly more cases of cold and flu. The most effective way to get vitamin D is to soak up the sun – without sunscreen – for about 30 minutes a day. You can’t overdose on sun, but you can on supplements.