There are hundreds of viruses that can cause common colds and they seem to come knocking on many of our doors around this time of year. When these little buggers knock us for six I know most of my cruelty-free comrades would prefer to avoid the chemical-laden and often-tested-on-animals cold and flu remedies lining our local pharmacy shelves.
So, as the cold and wet weather creeps in, get an all-natural armoury ready to bolster you as you go into battle with Cough and Sneeze Season. Here are my top three vegan-friendly ways to beat the cold and flu fast!
Up your fluids and make ‘em cozy
When you’re feeling under the weather it can be tough to chug down the water you need to get super hydrated. But the more you hydrate, the faster toxins can move through you. So try sipping on warm water with lemon and ginger. Lemon gives you a Vitamin C hit and is a natural antiseptic. Ginger is an antiviral, helping you fight off the nasty bacteria causing your cold. It also stimulates perspiration which cleanses your system and brings down your body temperature. You can also add cinnamon to this tonic or switch it up by drinking back some of your favourite caffeine-free teas (like green, rooibos or herbal) with a sprinkle or two of cinnamon. Cinnamon acts as an antiseptic and sweat-stimulator and is known to soothe sore throats. You can sweeten your cold and flu fighting tonic or cozy cups of tea with rice-malt syrup to avoid spiking your blood glucose levels and giving your body more unnecessary work (it’s busy trying to heal you after all). End your day with a steaming cup of Golden Milk — an Ayurvedic remedy for cold and flu, hormone balance, depression and more. Turmeric is a powerful spice that is antiviral and anti-inflammatory and has been used for hundreds of years to fight colds, congestion, headaches and sore throats. Click here for my favourite Golden Milk recipe. So drink up my friend!
Gimme the ‘erbs man!
In addition to the powerhouse spices mentioned above there are some herbs that are brilliant at battling bugs. And it is super easy to add them to the wholesome meals your loved ones prepare for you while you lie on the couch watching Game of Thrones with a tissue up each nostril. Rosemary helps to alleviate muscle pain, boosts the immune and circulatory systems and is a rich source of antioxidants, which help fight off cell-damaging free radicals. Add it to your soups, stews and even into the cold and flu fighting tonic mentioned above. You can also ease your congestion by adding rosemary sprigs, thyme oil and eucalyptus oil to a bowl of just-boiled water, draping a towel over your head to trap the steam and breathing through your nose (be sure to keep your peepers shut) for 5-10 minutes. Parsley is also your best friend when your churning through the tissues. It is another rich source of antioxidants, and contains vitamins C and B12, beta-carotene, and fatty acids that can help boost your immune system. Juice it, blend it into smoothies or add it to your soups, stews, and veggies. Oil of Oregano has been touted as ‘nature’s antibiotic’ and is a potent antiviral. Take 3-4 drops 2-3 times daily until you feel better. You can drop it directly on your tongue and chase with water or if you have a sore throat, dilute in a small amount of water and gargle a little before swallowing.
A big bowl of comfort
Chicken soup has been used to aid cold and flu since the 12th century. Health experts will tell you it does actually alleviate symptoms — due to the heat, fluid, and salt helping your body to fight infection. So no chicken is needed to give you the benefits of a big ol’ bowl of soup. The heat in a brothy soup will help to thin mucus. Also, using a good quality Himalayan pink salt will give you more than 80 trace minerals. Adding freshly chopped garlic and onion to your soup gives the system a powerful boost. While garlic kills germs outright, it also appears to stimulate the release of natural killer cells, which are part of the immune system’s arsenal of germ-fighters. Onions are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. Adding some chilli flakes will increase the broth’s decongestant power. And using fermented foods like miso will give your lagging digestive system a leg-up. Click here for Veggie Head’s Super Alkalising Soup recipe and you’ll have all your bases covered!
Most importantly, put your feet up! Get plenty of rest. This is key to getting better quicker. There is no way around it. It doesn’t matter how busy you are at work or how much it will pain you to miss training — you need to at least take a day to curl up on the couch under a warm blankie, imbibe all of the wonder foods we have just gone over and press the pause button on life. If you don’t, you’ll be sicker for longer — simple. And while you might feel like a hero popping some cold and flu tabs and heading into work, you’re not only ignoring your body and lengthening the healing process, you’re probably spreading your germs and making others sick too. Nobody likes a germ-spreader — so rest up, snotface.