We all know there is no cure for the common cold. But that doesn’t mean we have to give in to feeling miserable when the virus takes hold. There is plenty you can do to help your body heal a little faster when you have a cold. By following these simple tips it will feel like you found the secret to curing your cold naturally!
I don’t get sick often. I put this down to my diet, and a lifestyle that actively reduces stress and includes plenty of movement and time spent outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Believe me, I wasn’t always this healthy! I used to dread winter bugs.
But even with all those improvements, I’m not completely immune to getting sick. No one is. This past week I pushed my body too hard and now I’m paying for it with a cold.
I’m not giving in to feeling miserable though.
Over the years of working in a pharmacy, studying health science at uni, and general life experience, I’ve picked up a few tricks that are guaranteed to help me feel better. And I think they help my body heal quicker too!
If you’re fighting a cold this winter, try these tips to ‘cure your cold’ naturally.
If you’d prefer to watch how I treat my cold naturally, check out the video below.
Related: Help avoid getting sick by making time for self care
Cure A Cold Naturally with Rest
The very first thing I do when I feel a cold coming on is make time for rest.
It’s so simple but so important. Aside from doing the right thing and keeping your germs to yourself, staying home and resting is truly one of the best things you can do to help your body heal.
For one, rest helps stop your cold developing into something nastier. It also makes sure your body can direct it’s energy to healing rather than keeping up with your activities.
Getting enough rest can be difficult, especially if you have children at home. Try going to bed a little earlier, or surprise the kids with a movie day so you can snuggle up on the couch under a blanket and get the rest you need.
A little light exercise can sometimes help you feel better if you keep it gentle. I know if I only have mild symptoms that some restorative yoga or a short walk outside can help perk me up. But don’t over do it. The strenuous workouts can wait until you are feeling well again.
Cure A Cold Naturally with Hydration
One piece of evidence we’ve all heard time and again is to drink more fluids when we are sick. But does it really help?
Staying properly hydrated helps with mucous production so that we don’t feel so stuffy. It can also help prevent dehydration if we have a fever.
If you’re like me and find it hard to drink enough water, particularly when you aren’t feeling well, you can try adding some citrus slices or berries to your glass for a little flavour. It will add a small amount of vitamin C to your water too.
And if you’ve lost your appetite you can always try a green juice or smoothie to get some added nutrition with your drink. Soups are wonderfully nourishing and hydrating as well. I like to add plenty of garlic to mine.
Just remember, getting plenty of fluids is important but there’s no need to overdo it. There is such a thing as too much water and it can pose a more serious danger to your health than the cold did!
Cure A Cold Naturally with Nutrition
You may have heard that taking zinc at the first sign of a cold can help kick it to the curb quicker. There is some evidence to suggest that sucking on zinc lozenges at the start of your illness can help lessen the duration of a cold, but it doesn’t cure it. It also comes with a few potential side effects you should be aware of.
The same goes with vitamin C. It has been conventional wisdom for decades now to dose up on vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on. But again there is mixed evidence for how well this works and high doses of vitamin C can cause unpleasant side effects too.
I prefer to give my body a helping hand by being mindful of the foods I eat. I like to include plenty of vitamin C and zinc rich foods, just in case these do in fact help, and foods with plenty of antioxidants to help my body heal.
Food may not cure a cold, but the right nutrition can help you recover.
It’s easy to boost your vitamin C intake with citrus, leafy greens like broccoli and spinach, tomatoes, berries, sweet potato and capsicum.
Zinc is found most abundantly in meats, but being pescatarian I prefer to get mine from eating shellfish. It’s also found in spinach, seeds and legumes, nuts and wholegrains.
You can add more of these foods to your diet when you are sick by making a green juice or smoothie, eating a salad with sweet potato and a sprinkling of seeds, or snacking on berries and nuts if you’ve lost your appetite.
Treat the Symptoms of a Cold Naturally
When a cold hits, what I am most concerned about is relieving the symptoms.
I have a few tried and true remedies that I think you will find helpful too.
A blocked nose can be relieved by drinking more water, steam inhalations, using a saline spray or giving yourself a facial massage like the one I demonstrated in the video above.
For sore throats you can try making a drink of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey to soothe the throat. A tea made from warm water, a spoonful of turmeric and a splash of your choice of milk can be helpful too.
Honey is known for it’s ability to soothe sore throats and coughs. Manuka honey in particular is famed for it’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Turmeric is known for being anti-infammatory as well with the turmeric milk tea being a traditional Indian home remedy.
For body aches and pains I turn to warm baths, plenty of rest and some light restorative yoga. You can see how I do this in the video.
Yoga has the added benefit of encouraging lymphatic circulation which may aid healing too.
If you are wanting to add herbal remedies such echinacea, astragalus or olive leaf extract, it is always best to see a qualified health practitioner for expert advice and recommendations made based on your personal health history. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it is without side effects or contraindications, so always err on the side of caution and see an expert first.
We may not be able to cure a cold, naturally or otherwise, but there is plenty you can do to give your body a helping hand and to make yourself feel better while you are healing.