It’s that time of year again. It feels like everyone around you has the cold or flu and the sniffles are on high alert. Short of walking around in your own bubble or quarantining off sections of your house, it’s not always possible to keep the germs away. That’s why I’m sharing my top natural remedies for a cold or flu. These five tips will help you get back on your feet just as soon as can be.
1. Water is your BFF
Herbal tea is, too. Drink a lot of both, especially when you’re sick. They help flush away viruses and other stuff your body is working so so hard to get rid of. I’ve shared one of my favourite go-to teas below.
2. Dry brushing
Stay with me. Our lymphatic system, which lies just below the skin’s surface, helps to move waste, including bacteria and viruses, out of our body. But our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump. One of the main ways to get our lymph going is by physically moving. Dry brushing our skin stimulates this process and helps gets waste moving tout de suite. Think of it as giving your immune system a hand when it needs it most.
Dry brushing seriously takes all of 2 minutes. Using a natural bristle brush (easily found in most pharmacies) you gently brush both sides of your body. Brush towards your heart. I like to start at my feet and work my way up. Do this before you hop in the shower or take a bath and you’ll find it quickly becomes a daily practice. If you’re a visual kind of gal, you can also check out this video from Academy of Culinary Nutrition director Meghan Telpner, where she demonstrates how to do it.
Annnd dry brushing is one of the most effective ways to get rid of cellulite. Once you’ve made this a habit and are dry brushing daily, you’ll notice a difference. You’re welcome.
Seriously. Listen to your body. I’m not sure why we try to be rockstars when we’re under the weather (I’ve been guilty of this too). Taking a couple of days to let your body fight a bug is way better for you than pushing yourself trying to be a rockstar. This just leaves you with having the cold or flu hang on for weeks on end. A never-ending flu or cold is never fun. Plus, if don’t give your body the rest it needs, it will remind you who’s boss sooner or later. Be kind to your body and rest. This is one of the quickest ways to get over the cold and flu.
4. Vitamin C
Our body blows through (not the technical term) vitamin C during two instances in our life. When we’re fighting a cold or flu and when we’re under stress. Ever notice how you seem to get sick at the drop of a hat when you’re under stress? It’s not a coincidence. Be mindful of how much vitamin C you’re taking in, both as a supplement and in your diet. The top foods with loads of vitamin C are: broccoli, parsley, kale, bell peppers, oranges and lemons.
5. Bone broth
I could literally go on for days about the health benefits of bone broth. I make big batches of it and keep jars in the freezer. Bone broth is loaded with health restoring goodness like vitamins and minerals that are found in forms we can easily absorb. Taking in additional vitamins and minerals when you’re under the weather is going to give you the help you need to quickly get back on your feet.
Making broth is truly one of the easiest things. Simmer some bones, some veggies and a few herbs (for flavour) in a stockpot (or crockpot) of water. Once the bones are brittle (typically in 24-36 hours, depending on the type of bones you use), you know the broth is ready. I get my bones from my local butcher. You can typically call ahead and get your butcher to put some aside for you. This will be one of the most inexpensive, flavourful and healing broths you’ll ever have.
I’m gonna challenge you to chat your butcher up. Have a conversation. Ask questions. Were the animals pastured? Organically raised? Raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics? A butcher that works with farmers who respectfully raise their livestock will have healthier animals. Healthier animals = healthier bones.
I know I said 5 ways but I like to over deliver, so here’s my last tip. Sometimes what we don’t do is just as important as what we do do.
It’s not your friend. Especially when you’re sick. Sugar suppresses your immune system, making it harder to get over whatever your body is fighting. At a time when your immune system needs all the help it can get, leave the sugar for when your immunity is stronger. Use raw honey if you need to sweeten something.
- 1 inch ginger, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- hot water
- ½ tsp. raw honey, adjust to taste
- Place everything in a teapot of hot water. Let steep for 5 minutes.
- Enjoy. Then go take a nap.
- Tip: Garlic is super potent. It has so many great benefits including being antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. The best defences to have when dealing with a cold or flu, right?! After chopping garlic, leave it sit for at least 5 minutes before adding it to the tea. This gives its enzymes enough time to do their thing (Translation: it maximizes the conversion of alliin to allicin. Allicin is where garlic's well known beneficial properties come from).