Many can’t escape cold and flu with the changing seasons and fluctuating temperatures of climate change. When you start to sniffle and ache, there are several things you can do to ward off the bug and feel better sooner:
Ten ways to feel better with cold and flu
- Eat warming, grounding, simple foods such as roasted root vegetables, onions, garlic and warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, turmeric, fennel and cayenne. Conversely, avoid anything cold such as cold water, salads and anything straight out of the fridge or freezer.
- Herbal teas, chicken soups, vegetable soups, bone broths and congees are also highly nutritious and help clear congestion. Good herbal tea options include nettle, dandelion, ginger, elderberry and peppermint.
- Start the day with a squeeze of lemon in hot water, but add a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of turmeric in with it. Drink as many of these as you can manage throughout the day.
- As bacteria feeds on sugar, keep meals savoury (vs sweet) and light (conserving energy for healing vs digestion).
- Steer well away from dairy foods as they potentially increase mucous production in the body.
- Drink loads of water (minimum 3-4L), and avoid caffeine as it dehydrates the body.
- Sleep as much as possible.
- Find a way to sweat. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, sweating is recommended at the onset of cold and flu. Infared sauna’s are great as they make you sweat from inside out, but they are not a good idea if you have ongoing immune and/or fatigue issues. Instead take a really hot bath and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in there too to help clear the airways.
- Drop the need to ‘get things done’. Rest is best.
- Take therapeutic doses of immune boosting supplements. Favourites include:
Immune boosting herbs – A nice blend of olive leaf, andrographis, echinacea, Vitamin C and Zinc to boost the immune system and assist the upper respiratory tract.
Medicinal mushroom extracts – powders made from reishi and shitake mushrooms contain potent immune stimulating compounds.
Vitamin C – 2-3 heaped teaspoons in water sipped through the day. This dose is applicable to most high quality Vitamin C powders. NB: As you start to feel better is it imperative to slowly cut back on the high dose vs cutting it out altogether quickly.
Oil of oregano – gargle 5 drops in water and then swallow it. Oregano oil carries natural antibiotic and antiviral properties. NB: This is not suitable for pregnant women.
Probiotics – double your normal daily dose – 2 caps 2x/daily with food is suitable.
Fermented Cod Liver oil or any EPA/DHA supplement – to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
Most of all, when you’re feeling really sick, remember this is just another day and that if you believe it tomorrow will bring wellness back again. It always does eventually.
Chicken Garden Soup by Jamie Oliver (my favourite- Serves 6)
6 sticks celery
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
4 whole peppercorns
1 roast chicken carcass (preferably organic), with leftover chicken attached
1 large knob butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
2 handfuls seasonal greens, such as kale or cavalo nero, washed and shredded
200 g spinach, roughly shredded
Wash 2 of your carrots and 2 of your celery sticks and roughly chop them. Add them to a large saucepan with the onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, a pinch of sea salt and the chicken carcass. Fill the pan with cold water so that everything is covered, then place on the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface from time to time.
About 20 minutes before your stock is ready, crack on with the base for your soup. Peel your remaining carrots, wash your remaining celery, and slice them nice and evenly, about ½cm thick. In another large saucepan on a low heat, melt your butter with a good lug of olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and chopped parsley stalks and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes.
When your stock is ready, remove the chicken carcass, pull off any remaining pieces of meat and leave to one side, then discard the carcass. Strain your stock through a sieve into the pan with your softened veg. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Add your seasonal greens and cook for a further 10 minutes, adding the spinach for the last minute. Finish the soup by squeezing in the juice of your lemon, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Divide between bowls and top with any leftover shredded chicken, a sprinkling of parsley leaves and a good bit of freshly ground black pepper.