Kick that Cold

Everyone has their favorite trick for stopping a winter cold, be it elderberry syrup, yin chao or massive doses of zinc. While these can make a big difference, a few dietary tweaks and rest can make just as much of an impact.

Here are some simple ways to keep bugs from completely taking you down, and if you do get sick, these tricks will have you healing faster.

1. Cut the Sugar
Can you recall a time when you felt a little tickle in your throat, you eat something sweet, and BOOM! You are down for the count. It’s no coincidence. Sugar suppresses the immune system for about 5 hours after consumption. Avoid sweets (including honey, agave and maple syrup) to increase resistance and radically speed healing. Get your sweet flavor from whole, fresh fruit such as oranges, berries, kiwi, pomegranates, and lemonade made from real lemons and sweetened with stevia. These contain much-needed vitamin C to boost your immune system.

2. Cut the Alcohol
As a child I recall taking brandy before bed to numb my throat and put me to sleep during my annal winter cough. I coughed anyway, and I didn’t get better any faster. In addition to being hard on our liver, alcohol is a diuretic, a bad thing when we need to increase fluids.

A more effective way to soothe a sore throat or cough is to drink very hot herbal tea. Steep peppermint leaves to relax and soothe or boil ginger slices in a saucepan for 10 minutes for a powerful immune boost. Add a little lemon juice for flavor and vitamin C and skip the honey.

3. Breathe that Steam
Boil a pot of water on the stove, or better yet, use a steam inhaler to breathe steam for 15-30 minutes several times a day. Steam soothes much like tea, but with the added ability to enter the lungs.

Pure eucalyptus and lavender essential oils are powerfully antimicrobial. Adding a drop of either to your steam water will further fight infection and prevent it from spreading into your lungs.

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