Foods to Avoid or Eat for the Cold or Flu
Foods that comfort us when we don’t feel well may actually be working against healing us. As a girl from the South, fried foods or mac-and-cheese are the ultimate comfort for me but are, in reality, the last foods I should turn to when I’m suffering from the cold or flu. Here’s the bad news on my mac-and-cheese: foods that are considered comforting are generally filled with soy, dairy, or gluten and could be bringing stress to our immune systems. Any food that doesn’t boost your immune system is actually helping the illness in your body, the opposite of what you want to happen! While ice cream or french fries may seem like a good idea when you’re laying around in bed, try eating foods that are rich in antioxidants (like fruit smoothies) or a healthy salad that contains a protein like fish or chicken (black beans if you’re a vegetarian). You may crave comfort foods while you’re fighting the cold or flu but you’ll thank yourself for taking a break and waiting until you’re feeling better to enjoy them again.
This next one may come as a shock: We all drink OJ during a cold, come on! That’s what we have been told all our lives isn’t it? Drink your fluids, get plenty of juice in your body, rest up! But, is orange juice bad for you while you have a cold or the flu? Maybe… If you aren’t squeezing the juice yourself you are adding sugar to your system and giving your immune system another hoop to jump through. If you can’t (or don’t want to juice your own) try eating oranges or using supplements which contain high doses of vitamin C. Be sure to replenish the vitamin C in your system throughout the day; our bodies readily expel this immune booster so stay on top of that to keep your body feeling strong and to keep your immune system running smoothly!
Hydration is also a key to wellness so drink up with herbal teas, water, or coconut water (instead of that sugary OJ) when you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms. Bonus tip for you concerning that cup of tea: using raw, unfiltered honey adds antibiotic, antiviral, and immunity boosting goodies to your cup. Honey is a smart addition to your diet while experiencing cold or flu symptoms!
Cut Down Your Sick Time with a Tidy Room
Sickness can make even the neatest person a little sloppy. Cups are stacked throughout the room, tissues on the bed or floor, piles of things on the table. Any of this sound like you during the sniffles and sneezes? When we are sick the last thing we want to worry about is keeping a tidy area to lay around in but don’t catch yourself being captive in a cave of sickness! You can actually speed up your cold and flu sick time by creating an environment that is healing to your mind, body, and mood.
Even if your room is a bit messy, consider this: the sense of smell plays a role in how we actually feel, internally and externally. Try to incorporate some fresh scents into the air like lavender or clary sage to boost your mood and brighten your mind with the healing available through scent. Curious how to do this? Begin by putting a few drops of essential oil on a pillow or in a diffuser in your room. Once you’ve got the healing powers of oils in your room, consider changing up a few other things. Boost your mood by having a variety of materials at your fingertips while you are sick like magazines or books, a box of tissues, cloth that is cool if you have a fever, or blankets if you have a chill. Having surroundings that benefit your mood and state of mind while you are sick will help you rest better and will lighten your spirits. Try to let some sunlight in too! By creating a space that is healing, even if you find it to only boost your mood, you are decreasing the amount of time you’ll have to suffer with your cold and flu symptoms and getting yourself back on track for health!
1. Soup’s on! Many of us have heard that chicken soup offers a little boost while we are sick and it’s true. If you don’t eat chicken because of dietary choices or personal beliefs, focus on vegetarian or vegan options. What’s most important is to drink down the broth and keep your system hydrated with a warm bowl of soup. Vegetables in soups offer important (and healing) vitamins and minerals so don’t shy away from those. Do try to stay away from the stuff on a shelf in a can; homemade soups are always best and offer greater healing without a long list of ingredients you may not be able to pronounce! If you’re sick for several days and tire of the standard chicken soup, try this recipe for Onion Soup: chop white or red onions (or both), add to the broth of your choice, season with herbs you like (like thyme, oregano, basil or parsley) and plenty of black pepper. Onions will help bring natural healing against the cold and flu and the broth will bring hydration to your body. Everyone wins!
2. Veggies are your friend! Onions, kale, and broccoli offer natural sulfurs and vitamins, an important part of immune boosting essentials to keep your body in the fight against cold and flu. By adding these vegetables to your day you are giving your body the nutrients it needs while you’re sick.
3. Get Healthy with Citrus! Lemon in your tea or eating fresh oranges are two great ways to get some much needed citrus into our bodies while we heal. Find creative ways to incorporate Vitamin C into your day while you’re ill and consider this great remedy for a grapefruit skin tea: peel a grapefruit and add the skins to boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes or more, strain and drink the liquid.
Getting sick is a fact of life and one we just have to accept. While you’re sick, fight back and ingest wholesome foods, helpful herbs for your symptoms, and utilize remedies that will naturally offer healing! When the cold or flu show up in your home or office this year, be ready to fight back with a natural arsenal! Choose to take proper care of yourself (and your home) to cut down on sick time, or avoid it altogether!Look to nature to find remedies that work and avoid the chemicals.