12 Natural Ways to Fight a Cold

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The cold and flu season typically occurs as we approach the autumn and winter months, bringing with it a host of pains, chills, and ills associated with this colder period. Highly contagious and annoyingly persistent, a cold is caused by more than 200 viruses present in our environment.[1] There are many natural ways to soothe the common cold, mostly by increasing your immunity to these invasive viruses. If you follow these simple recommendations this cold and flu season, your chances of developing a cold can decrease significantly.

1. Vitamin D

Boosting your levels of vitamin D has dozens of benefits, and research shows that this sunshine vitamin also reduces the chances of developing the common cold as well as the flu. [2] The vitamin, which is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure, increases immune cell activity, reduces toxicity, and lowers the inflammatory response.

2. Zinc

Double-blind studies have shown that zinc reduces both the intensity and duration of the common cold by up to 50%. [3] Zinc also improves immunity and fights bacterial load within the body. [4] Common sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds and cashews.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow and mellow-tasting spice highly prized for its use in Indian cuisine and natural medicine. You can find the root in its whole form at some specialty supermarkets, and the powder can also be found in most spice sections at common grocery stores. It’s rich in antioxidants, one aspect that may aid in improving and protecting immunity. [5] Also, turmeric has been shown to protect defenses from fungal and bacterial compounds. [6] For a cold-fighting tea, place 1/4 tsp. of turmeric powder in eight ounces of hot water. Drink this mixture often throughout the autumn and winter seasons. As a gentle food, turmeric may also help soothe a sore throat. Simply combine 1/2 tsp. turmeric with 1 tbsp. of raw, local honey and consume slowly to coat the throat.

4. Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb that has seen continuous support in the natural health community as an important cold-fighting plant. Some research suggests that it’s helpful for regulating a healthy immune response[7] [8] yet despite this research, many conventional medical professionals remain skeptical on the herb’s ability to keep a cold at bay. Animal models have shown that Echinacea provides antiviral and antibacterial compounds responsible for combating dangerous bacteria or viruses that cause the cold. [9] [10]

5. Vitamin C

If you have a lingering cold that just won’t go away, or if you experience colds frequently throughout the year, chances are you are not getting enough vitamin C. This important water-soluble nutrient is found in high amounts in green vegetables and citrus fruits and is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. [11] Freshly-squeezed lemon juice or a green smoothie are two excellent ways to receive vitamin C in your diet. Consuming warm herbal tea with lemon juice during a cold or before one sets in may be helpful for reducing its duration.

6. Cinnamon

A warming circulatory stimulant, cinnamon is a powerful health-promoting spice with dozens of benefits for the body. Not only can it maintain blood sugar levels in healthy range, [12] cinnamon has also been shown to boost the immune system while behaving as a natural antiviral. [13] Sip on some cinnamon tea when you feel the chills coming on, and sprinkle some cinnamon in your smoothies, breakfast foods, or coffee every day to help drive away viruses.

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