Fighting Cold & Flu
As the seasons change and temperatures drop, the inevitable onslaught of cold and flu viruses can cast a shadow on our well-being. The sniffles, scratchy throats, and relentless coughs become a common refrain in households and workplaces. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a little knowledge and some proactive measures, you can boost your immune system, minimize your risk, and fend off the cold and flu more effectively than ever before.
Here at Good Living Nutrition, we like to do things the natural way, and we thought we’d share some of our top tips to help you fend off any nasty viruses.
Arguably two of the most important things you can do to help you fight off illnesses is staying hydrated and getting quality sleep.
Staying hydrated regulates your body temperature, relieves discomfort from symptoms such as sore throats, replaces any fluids lost through sweating/vomiting, decreases nasal irritation, thins mucus, and supports the immune systems function. Hydration also aids in the removal of toxins and waste products from the body, further promoting faster recovery.
Getting quality sleep is essential for a healthy immune system and plays a pivotal role in fighting illnesses. Around 7-9 hours of restorative sleep is beneficial as it helps with producing cells and antibodies, repairing tissue, reducing inflammation, conserving energy, and regulating fevers. Getting enough high-quality sleep ensures that your immune system operates at its best, accelerating the recovery process when you get sick, and also making it more effective in warding off illnesses in the future.
If sleep is something you can struggle with, we recommend any of the below natural products that can all be found in our store:
Chamomile Tea is known for being a gentle sleep aid. The phytochemicals in chamomile bind with the GABA receptors which can help reduce brain activity, resulting in an overall calming effect on the central nervous system. You can purchase quality, organic Chamomile flowers here.
Another natural tea for sleep aid, and less commonly known, is Passionflower. Similar to Chamomile, Passionflower works by increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which is a naturally occurring amino acid that may reduce activity in the central nervous system. Again, you can purchase this quality herbal tea here.
A further option known to help with sleep is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb which also may enhance GABA signalling and help to promote a sense of calm and relaxation and can also be known to help people feel more alert when they wake up. We offer Ashwagandha Organic Capsules in our store, found here.
A balanced diet is a crucial component of your body's defence against illnesses like cold and flu. It provides essential nutrients, maintains hydration, supports immune function, helps control inflammation, supports respiratory health, enhances sleep quality, and maintains a healthy gut microbiome. Proper nutrition ensures your immune system has the tools it needs to fend off infections and keep you healthier overall.
Including immune-boosting foods in your daily meals can make a significant difference. Here are some essential nutrients to focus on:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that enhances the production and function of white blood cells, crucial in fighting infections. We recommend foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, and bell peppers, all of which are rich sources of vitamin C. Studies have shown that a vitamin C deficiency can significantly weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infections, so to make sure you always reach your Vitamin C intake and avoid illnesses in the future, you can purchase multivitamins here.
Another helpful nutrient is Zinc, which supports the development of immune cells and can help reduce the duration of cold symptoms. Foods such as pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, chickpeas, lentils, and wholegrains are all rich in Zinc. Again, it can be difficult to eat foods as such every day, so to reach your daily intake you can purchase Wholefood Zinc Capsules from our store here.
Incorporating garlic and ginger into your meals can help boost your immune system, as garlic bulbs contain allicin, a potent compound with antimicrobial properties, and ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and is renowned for its ability to relieve nausea and reduce inflammation.
Herbal Teas and Supplements
Herbal teas have long been hailed for their therapeutic properties, offering a holistic remedy for the sniffles, coughs, and general malaise that often accompany winter illnesses.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric tea can help reduce inflammation and provide relief from cold symptoms, you can make turmeric tea by mixing turmeric powder with hot water, honey, and a pinch of black pepper.
Nettle tea may help reduce allergy symptoms that can accompany a cold, such as sneezing and congestion and is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Nettle leaf is a rich source of antioxidants, which are needed for reducing the number of free radicals in your system. You can purchase nettle leaf infusion here.
Astragalus is a herb known to be used in traditional Chinese medicine to enhance the immune system. Good Living Nutrition's astragalus root is extracted using purified water and processed in line with the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese therapies. You can add this to any of your favourite teas. Our extract is 100% pure, free of all additives and any bulking agents, purchase here.
Peppermint tea can help open up the airways and soothe a sore throat. It has a cooling effect that can provide relief from congestion and can also help ease nausea if you're experiencing an upset stomach along with your cold. You can purchase organic peppermint tea here.
A Healthy Gut
A significant portion of your immune system resides in your gut, so a healthy gut microbiome is essential for fighting colds because it directly influences your immune system's response. It regulates immune function, inhibits viruses, controls inflammation, enhances nutrient absorption, and supports stress management. It also helps maintain the integrity of mucous membranes, acting as a protective barrier against infections like the common cold. A balanced gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in bolstering your body's defences and overall health.
Examples of probiotic rich foods that you can incorporate into your diet include yoghurt, kefir and miso. Alternatively, taking probiotic supplements can help maintain a balanced and diverse gut microbiota, supporting immune function – these can be purchased on our website here. We offer Vegan Biotics too!
Our fast-paced lifestyle of eating processed acidic foods and drinks, stress, medications, and pollution can effectively unbalance our microbiome and have a huge influence on our body’s immune system, digestive health, weight, skin, brain and even our mood and ability to cope with stress. Maintaining a healthy gut is extremely important all-year round, not just when you’re coming down with the sniffles. To balance your gut and keep it healthy, we offer a 21-Day Purify Kit, which combines healthy eating combined with high quality nutritional supplements designed to support your microbiome and gut health. As part of the programme, you are given clear guidelines of what food and drink to eat and avoid, along with guidance incorporating the unique supplements into your diet. If you want to know more about the microbiome, read our previous blog, which discusses all you need to know about rebalancing your microbiome.
The battle against cold and flu viruses doesn't always require a pharmacy visit. Natural remedies, backed by centuries of tradition and modern research, provide effective alternatives. These natural remedies offer relief from symptoms, support recovery, and may even reduce the duration of your illness. Prevention is key, but when cold and flu viruses strike, nature's gifts can help you fight back effectively and with minimal side effects. Remember, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen or persist, especially if you have underlying health conditions.