Monday, February 04, 2013

The Scoop on Healthy Living: Winter Cold Relief

I hardly ever get sick. This was the first year in a couple years I've had a serious cold, and I think I'll blame it on the fact I take public transportation five days a week. However, I only have myself to blame. Since I started taking an Elderberry supplement everyday, I haven't gotten sick. In December, I had a few too many busy mornings and forgot to take it and low and behold: I got stung by the cold bug. So if you're not sick, run to your local drugstore and start taking Elderberry everyday to improve your immune defenses. It's available in pill capsule and syrup form (I prefer the capsules).

If you're already sick with a chest or head cold, here are some remedies I grew up with that make it suck less. Unfortunately, colds tend to last about a week no matter what you do, but lessening the symptoms at least helps you go on with your life.

Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is especially helpful for sinus and congestion relief. In a bowl the size of your head or bigger, drop a single drop of Oregano Oil and one drop of Tea Tree Oil. Pour about two cups of boiling water into the bowl. Sit at the table, with a towel over your head, and you head over the bowl for about ten minutes. Breathe in deeply, alternating between your mouth and your nose for full benefits. Basically, if you have a chest cold, this will help loosen the mucus which can lead to more productive coughs. For nasal congestion, it does the same for more productive sneezing. If you do this once in the morning and once in the evening if works best. It definitely makes your work day more bearable!

Jogging (not for everyone)
If you do not do cardio regularly, then don't do this. It will make your cold worse. Also, don't attempt this if you have a chest cold. If you are a runner, and have a mild cold, try going for a short jog outdoors, or on your own treadmill (don't spread germs at the gym!). You could also take a brisk walk up a hill or incline. When doing this, it is very important to listen to your body very closely. Your goal here is to break a sweat to release some of the toxins in your body. You don't want to stress your body out by pushing yourself too hard, or you can extend your cold. I usually run about 3 miles, a few times a week. However, when I'm sick, I keep it between a half mile and a mile, which is enough to get my heart rate up and break a sweat. This helps increase my energy level, and can loosen up the mucus for a head cold.

Vitamin C
Whether you're sick or not, taking Vitamin C everyday is good for you. I prefer to drink the Emergen-C packets, which are available at pretty much any grocery or drug store. I usually buy the Emergen-C+Immune in blueberry acai, but sometimes only the original orange are available. The Emergen-C packets have a range of vitamins, so I prefer to drink these in the morning instead of taking a multivitamin. It's easier for me to remember.

Healthy Eating
When people get sick, they are uncomfortable. Sometimes, this may make you want to seek out unhealthy comfort foods. Try not to do this. Skip the drive-thru. Eating well balanced meals when your sick will help your body fight off the bad guys. A well balanced meal has grains, vegetables (or fruit), and protein. One example is  peanut butter and banana sandwich on multi-grain toast.  Another is apricot chicken with asparagus and rice (or quinoa). It's important to drink plenty of water when your sick. Women should aim for about 2 Liters of water, and men for 3 Liters.

Sleep
Your body does some of it's best healing when your asleep. Try to get plenty of rest during your cold, and fit in an afternoon nap if your day permits it.

Which cold remedies do your family use? Share them below!

Thanks for reading,

Danielle