If you’re feeling down under the weather, these natural cold and flu remedies can give your body a boost, helping to relieve your symptoms and even shorten the length of time you suffer from illness.
Concern for your immune health should be kept in mind throughout the year. By taking care of your gut health, eating well, and practicing a healthy lifestyle, you can better prevent colds or flu.
With that in mind, there are ways you can support yourself when you feel the first signs of illness.
Natural remedies for cold and flu to consider in case of illness
Whether you feel like you have a cold or the flu as you read this, or if you are reading this to prepare yourself, these are all simple tips to use when you need them.
1. Nutrient-dense whole foods
Mother nature provides us with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Therefore, it is important to consume a large number of them every day, especially when you are sick. Also, if you are feeling under the weather, you may want to consider cutting down on processed foods that you eat to keep your body in good condition.
Aim for at least 5-6 servings of vegetables per day, but I urge you to make 2 or 3 of those servings from dark, leafy vegetables. At first glance, it seems like a lot. Just challenge yourself to add 1 extra serving per day (the Striped green smoothie contains 3-4 servings of vegetables per glass!)
If you’re feeling sick, here are some of our favorite soothing, yet nutritious, recipes to keep you feeling great from the inside out and easy to digest, but also great sources of vitamin C and zinc!
2. Frequent meals
Sometimes when we feel under the weather, our appetites or stomachs don’t feel that good. So watch out for your own needs.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help your appetite and regular digestion.
Elderberries have been used as a traditional immune support for centuries and can help when you’re feeling down under the weather.
They support your body with antioxidants made from vitamin C and anthocyanins. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that is best known for naturally strengthening your body’s defenses. In addition, elderberries are naturally rich in flavonoid, anthocyanin.
Some studies show that it can reduce the length and severity of flu symptoms, support heart health, and have anti-inflammatory effects. Although more research is needed to make certain health claims.
If you don’t have elderberry syrup in your medicine cabinet yet, we recommend Elderberry Calming Syrup from Further Food. It’s a delicious, antioxidant-rich syrup made from Sambucus elderberry extract, anti-inflammatory spices, cinnamon and cloves, and honey that has been tested for quality and effectiveness. In addition, it tastes delicious, is low in sugar, and contains no artificial ingredients or fillers.
Get 15% off your first order of Elderberry Soothing Syrup with the following code: NUTRITIONSTRIPPED.
Drinking water is often overlooked when the seasons get cooler, we sweat less naturally, we’re not that hot, and we don’t eat as much seasonal fresh juicy fruits (with high water content), but our bodies need it just as much.
Herbal teas and Simply infused water are an easy way to remind yourself to drink more water.
Sleep is incredibly important for the body to rebuild, restore, and keep the immune system healthy.
The reason for this is that immune function is very closely related to our sleep cycles, especially our circadian systems (1). For example, sleep has been demonstrated Reduce the risk of infection and even improve infection outcomes and vaccination responses (2).
The better we sleep, the stronger our immune system!
6. Hot tea, broth or soup
Hot teas like green tea, oolong tea, and red (rooibos) teas contain the most antioxidants and are very low in caffeine.
Think of antioxidants as powerhouses that help prevent infection and disease. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that can cause disease if their levels in the body become too high.
Vegetable broths and stews are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These amazing components help the body to function optimally naturally! In addition, soups are easy to make, you can easily have leftovers to heat up, and are fun to eat. Try our White bean soup made with the best broth ever.
Get exercise daily, even if you are walking your neighborhood or planning to work out at the gym. Keeping your body moving will keep your immune system healthy.
For example, it has been shown that individual attacks of moderately intense exercise “strengthen the immune system”. It can reduce inflammation, where inflammation is often associated with infection and disease (5).
Not to mention sweating through our skin, which is one of our largest detoxification organs, is beneficial.
There are many nutritious spices that can help boost your immune system and are easy to add to your recipes.
Turmeric has been used as a medicinal spice in Eastern culture for centuries for good reason. It’s incredibly high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown to improve the immune system. Check out my favorite way to enjoy turmeric here. Turmeric milk.
Nutrient-rich foods that can help reduce inflammation include honey, raw garlic, coconut oil, blueberries, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, green and oolong teas, cranberries, and chili peppers / cayenne peppers.
Inflammation is a leading cause of illness and disease, which makes these nutritious foods a great addition to any diet. Try adding herbs and spices to your meals, it tastes delicious and strengthens the nutrients. Garlic, onions, honey, coconut oil, oregano / oregano oil contain beneficial properties such as antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial.
Our mental and emotional health plays a key role in our physical health and our immune system.
Stress, especially long-term chronic stress, can destroy the immune system over time. In particular, it can lead to consistently high levels of the hormone cortisol. We’d like to avoid this as it, in turn, can compromise the anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system, which we have learned to be critical in fighting infections and disease (4)).
Take time to relax, recharge your batteries, and deal with stress daily.
- Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012; 463 (1): 121-13. 137. doi: 10.1007 / s00424-011-1044-0
- Besedovsky L., Lange T., Haack M. The sleep-immune crosstalk in health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2019, July 1; 99 (3): 1325-1380. doi: 10.1152 / physrev.00010.2018. PMID: 30920354; PMCID: PMC6689741.
- Simpson RJ, Kunz H., Agha N., Graff R. Exercise and regulation of immune functions. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2015; 135: 355- 80. doi: 10.1016 / bs.pmbts.2015.08.001. Epub 2015, September 5th. PMID: 26477922.
- Bae YS, Shin EC, Van Eden W. Bae YS Editorial: Stress and Immunity. Front Immunol. 2019; 10: 245. Published 2019 February 14th doi: 10.3389 / fimmu.2019.00245