Cold season is upon us. It cannot be escaped. OR CAN IT?! Yep. It can. Coming up are my four best tips for preventing/treating a cold naturally using our favorite medicine: food! Without further ado:
1. Gut Health First!
They say about 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut, so fortifying your gut health is step numero uno in preventing sickness in the first place! Most of us have wrecked our guts through rounds of antibiotics (which destroy both bad and good bacteria) and highly processed foods that our guts aren’t meant to digest–myself included. Taking steps to get your gut full of good bacteria again (like taking probiotics and consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut & kombucha) and then feeding those good bacteria with prebiotics (found in foods like asparagus, onions, etc.) is one of the best moves you can make to start strengthening your immune system. And, of course, seriously limiting your consumption of processed foods and antibiotics (which, if necessary, should always be paired with probiotics). When I started making my gut health a priority, I cannot express how much things changed for me; I used to get sick at least four times a year, and I haven’t gotten sick once in the last six months even when surrounded by sick people all day. It has completely revolutionized my immune system, and this is absolutely my number one tip in preventing sickness and, when it does happen, overcoming it faster.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
I am obsessed with apple cider vinegar. It’s a miracle worker. Pour some ACV in a glass of water (I prefer it warm) or cup of tea–enough so it’s a potent presence–and drink away! When I’ve got some gunk in my throat, I gargle it a couple times and let it slowly drain down my throat until I can’t bear it anymore. It’s not fun, and it stings like mad, but there is nothing more effective at destroying all that yucky bacteria in there. Make sure your ACV is raw and “with the mother”–it should have some stuff floating around at the bottom. That’s the good stuff, so don’t fear! Also be sure to drink it through a straw if you can–vinegar can erode your tooth enamel over time.
3. Onions & Garlic
Garlic and onions are at the heart of the magical healing power of chicken soup. These babies are antiseptic, antibacterial, immunity-boosting superheroes that enhance the body’s ability to fight off sickness, so eat up! You can read more about them in detail here.
4. Turmeric & Ginger
My favorite pair of anti-inflammatories, turmeric and ginger are not only nutritional powerhouses and arguably the top superfoods of them all, but they’re fantastic at fighting off infection. Antibacterial and immune-boosting, drinking turmeric & ginger tea or adding them to your smoothies or soups is a great move when cold season comes along. The anti-inflammatory properties can also effectively soothe a sore throat! You can certainly make your own–this recipe is my favorite–but I like this brand of ginger-turmeric tea if you’re in the market.
I wish you the healthiest, happiest cold season you’ve ever had. After all, staying healthy is, well, pretty miraculous.