My Cold-Busting Plan for Winter

Posted: May 15, 2015 in Food, Wellbeing
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Those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere have noticed a definite change in the weather of late. Whereas only a few weeks ago the temperature in Sydney was mild now, to misquote Shakespeare, it’s as cold as a dead man’s nose.

Every year, magazines and websites recycle stories with headlines like ‘How to avoid a cold this winter’ and ‘The best flu-fighting diet this season’. I tend to read these stories with a grain of salt, as I can’t be bothered actually taking olive leaf extract and echinacea for months beforehand to build up my immunity. But as soon as a cold hits, I have my own action plan.

I can breathe out of one nostril today

So as the weather chills out and we fire up the heaters and tuck into a warming hot chocolate, here’s what I do as soon as I feel the first tickle in my throat of a cold coming on:

  1. Hot lemon and honey drinks. Buy a couple lemons, invest in some good quality honey, and just add hot water and a spoon to stir. My dosage recommendations – one large wedge of lemon coupled with a tablespoon of honey, serve 3 times a day. So much better than Lemsip.
  2. Honey and lemon drink
    Zinc tablets. Now I know I said I don’t get into the echinacea and herbal supplements as a preventative measure, but zinc tablets I take all year round. Zinc is brilliant for maintaining a healthy immune system, and has been shown in some instances to help improve skin disorders. Zinc lozenges were found to shorten the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40% in a study published in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal. I prefer zinc tablets over the lozenges, but whatever floats your boat.Zinc tablets
  3. Homemade chicken soup. I’ve blogged before about my favourite winter soup before, and it has certainly served me well during many winters. Hearty chicken and veg soup has nothing but chicken, LOADS ofvegies, lentil and chickpeas, and chicken stock. Oh and not forgetting garlic. Garlic is the best cold-fighting ingredient, so I always add a liberal amount to my homemade chicken soup. The best thing is that you literally just chop everything up and throw it in a huge pot and leave for 1.5 -2hrs, so if you’re already starting to feel under the weather there’s minimal thought and effort required.Hearty chicken and veg soup
  4. Spicy food. I am an all-out chilli fiend, so I adore spicy food at the best of times. A threatening cold just gives me a great reason to cook up aspag bol liberally laced with chilli flakes, or treat myself to a Malaysian laksa.Mmmm that spice.Laksa
  5. Sweat it out. As long as you don’t have the actual ‘flu, a light intensity workout can be a good way to sweat a cold out. It won’t get rid of it, but if nothing else it will leave you with a good hit of endorphins to make you feel better. Experts suggest it’s only best to workout if your cold symptoms are ‘above the neck’ (i.e. a runny nose, sneezing or a sore throat). If they’re ‘below the neck’ (chest congestion, a hacking cough or an upset stomach) it’s best to just rest.Sweat it out
  6. Lots of time on the couch/in bed. Of course this isn’t always possible, especially if you have a small child as part of your family, but the body really does need more sleep and rest to repair and heal itself, so it’s best to fit in a bit more relaxation if you can.

What are your top tips for treating a cold when it hits?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x


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