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If you find yourself sick this cold and flu season, here is a guide to the best natural remedies that can help you decrease the duration of your illness and lessen the symptoms. These are not meant to replace any advice you receive from your health care professional but rather some ideas for those who lean towards a natural approach to boosting the immune system.
Rest. Rest. And Rest Some More
Rest is essential for a speedy recovery. Most everyone knows that rest is needed when recovering from an illness, but not everyone gives themselves the recommended amount of rest needed.
Pushing yourself too far too fast can decrease the immune system, which in turn will cause cortisol levels to rise. This decreases the efficiency of the immune system. When our bodies are healthy, they can quickly adapt to this stress over time, which is how we find ourselves getting stronger and building more muscle, and increasing endurance. However, if the immune system is already weakened and trying to fight off a bug of some sort, the bug may worsen as the immune system is not fighting back with full force. The body is stressed when you are sick, so adding any extra exertion can make you sicker.
The importance of rest cannot be emphasized enough. SLEEP! Sleep is the most beneficial thing you can do for your body every day, especially when sick. Sleep is a restorative process that helps the body slow down, heal and recover. Sometimes relaxation, rest, and even sleep may not come easy, but it is highly encouraged when sick. If you are someone who does not find resting easy, try to add in some practices that promote relaxation: listen to calming music, read a book or magazine, put your phone and other electronics away, meditate, take a hot bath and do what you need to do to make yourself comfortable.
Fluids help loosen congestion, prevent dehydration, and flush the cold and flu bugs right out of the system. Warm fluids are particularly beneficial as they soothe the throat and break up congestion more effectively. Two excellent warm beverages for fighting the flu are hot teas and bone broth.
Hot Teas. Incorporating hot teas into your recovery not only helps you hydrate but also coats and soothes the throat and breaks up congestion while moistening mucus membranes. Want to add some antibacterial and antioxidant boosters to your tea? Add is some honey for the little extra health benefits and flavor. Honey also soothes the throat and acts as a natural cough suppressant. All herbal teas are beneficial, but a few have some specific properties that are more beneficial for healing your body from the cold or flu.
- Lemon Ginger Tea: Ginger helps relieve congestion and soothes a sore throat. Lemon, while high in vitamin C, has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Throat Coat Tea: This tea is a blend of herbal ingredients, including slippery elm and licorice root. Slippery elm has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Licorice root has anti-inflammatory properties that help in relieving mucus membrane irritation. Both ingredients are beneficial when fighting off the cold or flu.
- Throat Comfort Tea: This tea is packed with cold and flu-fighting herbal ingredients as well. The primary ingredient being wild cherry bark. Wild cherry bark can act as a natural expectorant, which will help thin the mucus harboring in your airways. This blend of tea also includes licorice, fennel, and cinnamon.
Bone Broth. Bone broth is delicious and packed with powerful nutrients: iron, potassium sodium, vitamin C, selenium, and magnesium. Bone broth contains crucial amino acids that are essential when boosting your immune system. So, by drinking some warm bone broth, you are getting a big bang for your buck by hydrating, drinking warm liquids, and getting a significant nutrient boost. Sip it throughout the day or use it as a base for a soup!
Elderberries have become increasingly popular over the past few years regarding health benefits during cold and flu season. They are high in antioxidants and anthocyanidins, which gives the berry its beautiful dark purple color. These compounds boost that immune system. They, too, have anti-inflammatory properties and incorporating elderberry syrup a few times a day gives you a big punch of immune-boosting to help your recovery. There are many recipes out there to make your own syrup, or you can purchase from your local drug store or farmers market.
Vitamins and minerals are essential and support overall health, but the right combination makes one of the best natural remedies for the cold and flu.
- Zinc: Zinc has been shown to shorten the length of the common cold, especially if taken within the first 24 hours of having symptoms. The exact reason it works is not entirely known, but it may work by preventing the multiplying of the virus and may help protect the mucus membranes by preventing the virus from settling.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a huge role in strengthening the immune system and fighting any viruses trying to intrude. It decreases inflammatory proteins as well as increases anti-microbial proteins in your body.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a fantastic antioxidant that helps fight infections and boost the immune system. It has also been shown to shorten the length of the common cold. You can take in the form of a supplement, but you can also increase your consumption of foods high in vitamin C, such as red bell peppers. Just half a cup of raw red bell pepper will meet your vitamin C minimum for the day. Some other great food choices are citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, containing about 70 milligrams of vitamins. Kiwifruit, cruciferous vegetables, and potatoes are all packed with C.
- Garlic: Garlic has excellent anti-microbial and antibacterial properties, which help fight any bacteria or bug you may have. It also promotes a healthy gut, which will result in a robust immune system. Did you know that 70-80% of your body’s immune defense is in the digestive tract? Garlic can also help clear the nasal passage and clear out that bothersome mucus that can be gathering. Eating it raw may result in fierce breath, but it will give just as fierce a punch to the sinuses, or you can add it into juices and smoothies, soups, or you can add a little extra into your cooking.
With cold and flu season upon us, and if you do find yourself falling ill, hopefully, these natural remedies will bring some relief and help you get over a cold or flu more quickly.
If you or a loved one living alone have fallen ill this flu season and require personal care, consider Assisting Hands Home Care. They provide professional and compassionate caregivers who can help with meal preparation, groceries, shopping, and a complete list of other in-home care services. Find our list of locations by visiting https://assistinghands.com/location-list/
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