I used to feel a cold coming on and just resign to the fact that I was going to be sick. Like, oh well, this happens to everyone at least twice a year so it’s just my turn. It was only when I started training for a half ironman that getting sick was just NOT an option. I had a strict training regime and in order to be physically prepared for the race, I had to avoid getting sick. So when I started coming down with something the first time during this training, I did all I could to stop it in it’s tracks. And it worked! I have been following this regimen ever since and so long as I catch it in time, it is effective.
Here are my top tips for stopping a cold before it’s too late:
1. Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and lemon tea (add honey if you can’t bare the taste).
My husband calls this “anti-inflammatea”…get it? He would be very upset if I didn’t call it that since he came up with it. This concoction is made up of amazing properties that will help your body to fight a cold. Here is what’s so powerful about these ingredients:
- Ginger contains gingerol which has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (1).
- Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful medicines, with seriously effective anti-inflammatory properties (2).
- Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties (3).
- Cayenne pepper is high in antioxidants and increases circulation (4).
- Lemon adds great flavor, thins mucus and is of course, a good source of vitamin C (5)!
- Raw natural honey also has antibacterial properties so getting that in there will not only improve the taste but will provide your body with even more goodness!
2. Suck on raw garlic
Yes, you read that right. Raw garlic contains allicin which has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and has been proven to help prevent colds and flu (6). Slice it in half and suck on it to release the allicin! If you’ve tried it and you’d rather die than put straight up raw garlic in your mouth, make a pesto using garlic or add it into your salad dressing. I usually suck on one clove after dinner for about 5 minutes. Be sure to warn people, especially your significant other.
3. Bone broth
I just love this stuff. I make it to put in stews and curries etc. but will drink it straight to fight off a cold. Bone broth is nutrient-dense, boosts your immune system and contains compounds that reduce inflammation (7).
4. Early to bed
Well this is an obvious one. But seriously, sleep deprivation or just poor sleep compromises your immune system. If you’re not getting enough rest you can’t expect your body to be able to fight off a cold. I try get 8 hours of sleep every night but when I feel a cold coming I get to bed at least an hour earlier. That extra time is needed for your body to focus on recovery.
5. Dose up on vitamin C
If you’re not taking this on a regular basis already, definitely load up on it when you feel a cold coming it’s way. I will usually up my dose if I’m going through a stressful period or not getting as much rest as I should just to make sure my immune system is in tip top shape.
6. Cut out sugar
Sugar is the devil on all fronts (in my opinion). Besides the fact that it contains no nutrients, it suppresses your immune system by inhibiting phagocytosis. This is a process whereby our white blood cells get rid of viruses and bacteria (8).
Staying hydrated is crucial for our body to function effectively. It helps to flush toxins and also keeps the lining of the nose moist (9)(10). Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep that body in check and help ward of any signs of a cold!
8. Nasal hygiene
The body’s first line of defense against airborne attackers is the mucus lining in our nose. Keeping this clean and moist is important to fight off viruses and bacteria. Studies have shown that people who use a nasal flush daily, experienced fewer colds than those who don’t (11). I use a daily nasal flush but if you feel you’re coming down with a cold or wake up with a scratchy throat, this is a good thing to do immediately!
Maintaining a healthy diet, getting good sleep and exercising regularly will all help in preventing colds and flu. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to avoid getting sick. If you feel like you get sick on a regular basis, maybe it’s time to start reflecting on your lifestyle and ways you can promote a more healthy way of living.