How to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flus

checken-broth

As I write this we are nearing the end of the traditional cold and flu season of the year.  By the time you read it, it will be pretty much over.  This does not mean that you cannot and will not get a cold or the flu at other times of the year!  I wanted to give you a few pointers on what you can do to help ward off colds and flus as well as how best to equip yourself for next year’s cold and flu season.  

Much to people’s beliefs, outdoor environment, drafts, wetness, and temperature changes do not cause a cold or the flu. The flu is more serious because it can spread to the lungs and cause bronchitis or pneumonia.  

First you need to sort out if you have a cold or the flu.  Here are some symptoms that will allow you to determine which you have.

Cold

Flu

  • Slow onset
  • Body aches
  • Rarely with fever or headache
  • Sore throat, sinus congestion, listlessness, runny nose, and sneezing
  • Mild fatigue and weakness
  • Chest discomfort with a hacking cough
  • Swift and severe onset
  • High fever, headaches, and sore eyes
  • Chills and body aches
  • Extreme fatigue, sometimes for 2-3 weeks
  • Chest discomfort with severe hacking cough
  • Sometimes sore throat

The biggest factor for virus prevention is to have a healthy functioning immune system.  In order to obtain this ultimate goal, it is important to flood your body with nutrients on a daily basis.  Some of the nutrients that are key for preventing colds and flu as well as defending against them when you come down with them include vitamin C and zinc.  Zinc has been shown to increase immune function in various studies.  Zinc lozenges are also very soothing to a sore throat.  Since viruses spread by getting inside the cells in our body, it is important to ensure that our cells are maintained well.  Cell integrity is supported by the following nutrients:  vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, selenium, and essential fatty acids.  The table below includes some food sources where the various nutrients can be found.  

Nutrient Food Sources
Vitamin C oranges, red peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit, guava, and kiwi
Zinc pumpkin seeds, beef, lamb, spinach, nuts, dark chocolate, pork, chicken, beans, and mushrooms
Vitamin E almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, sunflower seeds, butternut squash, trout, and olive oil
Vitamin A sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squash, cantaloupe, bell peppers, fish, and liver
Selenium Brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines, grass-fed beef, turkey, beef liver, chicken, eggs, and spinach
Essential Fatty Acids Fish oil, hemp, flax, walnuts, almonds, broccoli, spinach, grass-fed beef, olive oil, and eggs.  

 

Other keys to maintaining your immune system include getting proper sleep each night, avoiding regular sugar consumption, avoiding processed fats, and avoiding refined foods.  Also key in immune system support is managing stress and getting some regular exercise coupled with eating nutrient-dense and nutritious foods.  Sleep is super important as this is when your body repairs and detoxifies itself.

I believe that it is important for everyone to supplement with quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplements as the state of our food these days leaves much to be desired!  Due to soil depletion, early picking, long transport times, and pesticides, the foods we consume just don’t have the nutrients that they used to.  This doesn’t change the fact that our bodies still require those nutrients!  To ensure that you get all the nutrients you need, a good quality supplement is imperative.  When I say a good quality one, I do not mean ones that you find in the drug store or most grocery stores.  If you see things like any of the following listed as ingredients on your supplement, it is not a quality supplement!

  • BHT
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Carrageenan
  • Magnesium silicate
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Artificial colours or flavours
  • Hydrogenated oils

Another thing that you can do to assist your body at the onset of a cold or the flu is to relax in a sauna for about 20 minutes, if you can.  If not, then a warm bath will also help.  A one or two day cleanse at the onset can also help your body to focus on healing instead of working to digest food.  Deep belly breathing exercises can assist to clear your lungs.  

Your grandmother knew what she was talking about!  Chicken soup really does help the body to fight off colds and flu!  When I refer to chicken soup, I am not talking about the stuff that you buy in the grocery store.  I am referring to the stuff that you make yourself!  I am referring to the stuff that is made from boiling bones and other beneficial parts of animal carcasses along with vegetables to make a soup base or broth.  The gelatin in this broth is so good for your body!  It helps to heal your intestinal tract and also provides so many nutrients such as:  calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  The gelatin in the broth also aids digestion.  Chicken bone broth is known as Jewish penicillin!  Consuming bone broth on a daily or very frequent basis will also provide continuous protection from many health conditions.  Fish broth made using the whole fish, including the head, contains iodine which is super important for your thyroid.  Here’s a recipe for a traditional chicken soup stock that I grabbed from Sally Fallon’s, “Nourishing Traditions” book.  Try it out and enjoy!  

I drink this stuff like tea on a regular basis.  I enjoy the flavour of it by itself, it’s especially warming in the winter, and I know that it is giving goodness to my body!

Chicken Broth Recipe

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken including gizzards (amazing if you can also get the feet)
  • 4 quarts of cold filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 Celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley

Directions

Farm-raised free-range chickens give the best results!

  1. Cut chicken parts into several pieces.  If using the whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.  Put the rest of the chicken in whole.
  2. Place cut up chicken into a large stainless steel pot with water, apple cider vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley.
  3. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  4. Bring to a boil and remove scum that rises to the top.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-24 hours.  The longer you cook it, the richer and more flavourful it will be.
  6. About 10 minutes before the broth is done, add the parsley.  This will add additional minerals to the broth.
  7. Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon.  Let cool and remove meat from the carcass and reserve for other uses such as chicken salads, enchiladas, or curries.
  8. Strain the stock into a large bowl and refrigerate until the fat rises to the top and congeals.  
  9. Skim off the fat and keep the stock in covered containers in your fridge or freezer.  
  10. Reheat the stock and enjoy!  

Another soup recipe that I have been wanting to taste and test out is the garlic soup recipe.  I haven’t been sick to test it out since I found it so I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think about it!  Garlic has a reputation as being a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral component.  Here’s the recipe.

garlic-soupGarlic Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 26 organic peeled garlic cloves
  • 26 organic unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons organic grass-fed butter
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ cup fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups sliced onions
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 3 ½ cups organic vegetable broth
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • sea salt or Himalayan rock salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place 26 unpeeled garlic cloves in a small glass dish.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil and sprinkle with either sea salt or Himalayan rock salt and toss to coat.
  4. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes until garlic is golden brown.
  5. Let it cool then squeeze garlic between fingers to release the cloves into a small bowl.
  6. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add onions, thyme, ginger and cayenne powder.
  8. Cook for 6 minutes until onions are translucent.
  9. Add roasted garlic and 26 raw garlic cloves and cook for 3 minutes.
  10. Add vegetable broth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until garlic is tender.
  11. Puree soup in a blender until smooth.
  12. Return to saucepan, add coconut milk and simmer.
  13. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge into each bowl.  Enjoy!
  14. Refrigerate leftovers.  Warm over medium heat to reheat.  

netty-potA great way to sooth your nasal passages and to prevent colds and flu are to flush your sinuses with saline solution.  You can purchase a neti pot and saline to be mixed with purified water for this purpose or you can buy a canister of already prepared saline solution such as HydraSense.

 


home-made-chest-rubAnother way that you can help yourself when you have the cold or flu is to make homemade chest rub with essential oils in them.  Mix four drops of either tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, or oregano oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil and massage into your chest and throat.  Do not put the essential oils directly on your skin without the carrier oil as they can burn you!  You can also add five or six drops of tea tree oil only to a warm bath and soak in it.  Again the other essential oils added to water only can burn your skin.  You can also add essential oils to a humidifier or diffuser in your room to inhale at night while you sleep.


To sum up, the best offense is a good defense!  So fuel your body each day with nutrient-dense foods that are produced locally, grass-fed, wild, and organic as much as possible.  Even a food that is produced locally using pesticides will have more nutritional value for your body than an organically produced item from the grocery store that was picked months early and then shipped for several weeks!  Food is fuel for your body!  Be sure to treat your body like the Lamborghini that it is and put in quality food not just calories!  When you put good stuff in, your body will serve you well into the high numbers of age!  

If you found this information useful and would love to chat some more with me, I invite you to contact me at tracy@pathsforhealing.com or 613-540-4515.  I look forward to helping you develop your unique path for healing and walking on that journey with you!