Cold and flu season does not discriminate.
When it strikes, it attacks like the plague, and chances are you’ve been a victim at some point in time.
In fact, chances are that you’ve also come to expect to come down with the cold or flu—at least once or twice this season (After all it’s what is supposed to happen in the winter, right?
And…Chances are you’ve tried multiple of remedies to get over a cold or flu bug:
Mom fed you Campbell’s chicken noodle soup as a kid.
You’ve chugged Tropicana Orange Juice for extra Vitamin C, or sipped a cup of hot herbal tea.
At Walgreens, you bought up Airborne, Sudafed and Tylenol P.M.
And of course, if you were deep in the woods, you probably heard the word: “Z-pack”—an antibiotic from your doctor at one time or another.
…But what really works?
And moreover, what will help you NOT get colds and flus in the first place?
COLDS & FLUS BE GONE
Get this: Up to 90% of your immune system is housed and created in your gut—meaning the “disease fighting” bacteria and your body’s ability to fight off disease is directly attributed to your gut health.
If you have a “leaky gut,” sluggish or poor digestion or an irritated gut, then you are at HIGHER risk for catching a cold or flu.
The “bugs” in the air, environmental toxins and downright inability to fight off any foreign invader is compromised when your gut is not up to par.
How does the gut get “leaky” or “irritated” in the first place?
Some common triggers to poor gut health include:
- Refined and processed foods
- Hydrogenated oils (like in restaurant foods)
- Regular caffeine consumption, exceeding about a cup a day of coffee
- Processed grains and dairy
- Gut-irritating/high-allergen foods (for some: nuts, eggs, FODMAPs)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Toxic exposure (beauty hygiene products, cleaners, mold, mildew, BPAs in plastic, somking)
- Low water intake
- Contaminated water
- Conventional meats and dairy
- Antibiotic use
- Longterm medication use
- Not chewing your food or slowing down at meals
- Not eating regular meals
- Erratic eating habits
- High alcohol consumption
- Stress/chronic stress
For many folks, it’s not just one thing, but multiple factors that lead to a worn-out gut.
Throw “cold and flu season” into the mix, and if you’re gut is already on a shaky foundation, you are already more likely to be susceptible to take a hit.
SO WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
The first line of defense against cold and flu season is always prevention.
Arm yourself to fend off colds and flus with a basic healthy gut protocol, including:
1.) A daily high-quality probiotic (not just a label that claims it is a probiotic, but one from a reputable source)
2.) Drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day + eating real food
3.) A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 2-4 oz. of water before or around meals (Optional, but great for boosting stomach acid to assist in digestion)
However, if you find yourself a little too late to the party and dealing with cold or flu-like symptoms, here are some of my top recommended natural foods, supplements and remedies for “curing” the common cold (and being back on your A-game in no time):
Top Foods for Fighting a Cold
Fire Cider. A combo of apple cider vinegar + every single gut-healing food and spice imaginable (like for real). See my recipe here.
Bone Broth. It’s the real deal. (Order it here and use the code “thrive” for $10 OFF!)
Sauerkraut. A natural probiotic, kill off the buggies in your gut with some fermented foods like sauerkraut, full fat plain yogurt/coconut yogurt, water kefir, kimchi and low-sugar kombucha.
Oregano. Oregano (and oregano oil)
Herbal Tea + Lemon + Raw Organic Honey. You can’t go wrong here. Honey is a natural anti-bacterial, and teas provide a slew of herbs to support body healing.
Real Citrus. An orange, lemon, tangelo. Not fake, processed citrus (like Tropicana “soda”).
Ginger. Gut healing and cleansing, add some to your veggies, atop your salad, or try some ginger tea.
Garlic. Also another gut-healer and immune booster—the allicin compound in it kills off bacteria. Peel it. Chop it. Mince it. And eat it as is—or add a little bit to some applesauce, some steamed greens or other veggie to “get the medicine down.”
Top Natural Supplements
- Double Up on Probiotics When I am “down and out” I take a double dose of my probiotic. For gut-guarding and immune boosting support, I also love Intezyme Forte by Biotics —full of enzymes to help support the breakdown and eradication of bugs in your gut.
- Oil of Oregano. A natural anti-oxidant to fight free radicals looming about. Put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water, and then inhale the steam.
- Zinc + Vitamin C. These two together are a powerful combination to speeding up cold healing as found in this study where researchers found the supplemental support to be significantly more efficient than placebo at reducing a sinus infection over 5 days of treatment. Aim for 10-20 mg. of Zinc + 1000 mg of Vitamin C.
- Echinacea. According to a research report reviewing 14 different studies on this herb, they found that Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and Echinacea reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days. Try it in an herbal tea like this one by Yogi. You can also find in supplemental form (take 1,000 mg 2-3x daily).
- Wellness Formula. This is the “Windex” of my cold-supplement arsenal. I swear by it at first signs of a cold coming on. I take the recommended dose three times per day and usually kick the early signs of a cold within a few days (this is best for the beginning stages of a cold).
- Fish Oil + Vitamin D. Fighting inflammation is the name of the game with these powerhouses. Support the disease fighting process with 1 fish oil in the morning + 1 Vitamin D (5000 IUs), and 1 fish oil at night + 1 Vitamin D (5000 IUs). Fish Oil
Top Natural Home Remedies
Neti Pot Good bye drainage! Hello clear head and nose! This baby drains all that gunk up there to help you…breathe easy.
Homemade Vapo-Rub. For temporary relief make a “Vaporub” with coconut oil + essential oils like peppermint + eucalyptus oil and put it on your chest to help clear sinuses.
Colloidal Silver Nose Spray. Colloidal silver can benefit people as a nasal spray and kills off Staph aureus often seen with sinus infections.
Sleep. Rest is where the body heals and restores. Catch up on some extra Z’s to boost your bod.
Essential Oil Diffuser. Clear the air (and your sinuses) with an essential oil diffuser to freshen things up and keep things clean. Add some water to a diffuser, plus 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil scent (I like lemon or “Breathe” by doTerra) and inhale.
Colds and flus be gone!