London: Now is the time of year when everyone is catching a cold, cough, and sore throat. In the winter, people spend more time indoors and closer to each other, and viruses that cause the common cold spread more easily in cold, dry air. The number of sniffles that are freely roaming can often leave us feeling worse for wear.
On average, adults suffer from two to three colds per year. Nowadays many of us head to the nearest pharmacy to load up on symptom-covering medications to get through the day. But if you want to speed up the recovery process, nutritionist Sarah Flower offers some timeless natural remedies to help you get quickly back on your feet.
Stop a Cold and Sore Throat This Winter
It’s an age-old remedy that mothers and grandmothers have been peddling for years. There are mentions of chicken broth being used by Greek physicians. They would make a broth using the bones of the meat or poultry, add any leftover vegetables, and cook slowly for a nourishing meal.
Bone stock is packed full of nutrients, including gelatin, collagen, and a host of vitamins and minerals to help heal you and recover quickly. Additionally, the salt in the broth and its warmth can soothe a sore throat. Breathing in the steam can also help loosen up congestion.
Chili also acts as a natural decongestant. To speed up the metabolism, Sarah suggests adding some turmeric and cinnamon, as well as a dash of chili and fresh ginger.
A garlic a day keeps the germs away:
Garlic has a long-standing history and reputation for keeping winter bugs at bay. In the 1500s, people were advised to apply a poultice of garlic and onion to their throats to cure their ailments. Thankfully we have now moved on and can easily add garlic to our meals or even take a daily supplement.
Garlic does have antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties, making it a great addition to your cold and flu armory. Crushing fresh garlic causes a chemical reaction that releases allicin – a powerful antibacterial only present after garlic is crushed but before it’s heated.
A breath of fresh air:
Our ancestors used to take patients outdoors for at least an hour every day no matter how sick they were. There is a good reason behind this and the reason is vitamin D, which helps to prevent the flu and can also regulate our immune response. An estimated 85 percent of people in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient, and that number often increases throughout the winter months.
To gain adequate exposure to the sun’s UVB rays, you need to be in the sun for at least 15 minutes per day. For those unable to do so, a great alternative is opting for vitamin D3 supplements. Taking one daily not only boosts the immune system and fights infection but can also help with depression, bone, and joint, and heart health.
Tips to beat a sore throat:
Gargling with warm salt water may help to reduce inflammation. (It is not recommended for children.) Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of partly cooled boiled water, gargle with the solution, then spit it out. Repeat as necessary. “It’s inexpensive and everyone can do it at home – I recommend this to most patients,” says Abraham Khodadi, a prescribing pharmacist who vlogs weekly about health on YouTube as Abraham the Pharmacist.
Prevention is better than cure:
This sounds obvious, but there are measures we can all implement to help prevent catching the common virus in the first place. We have gone through quite a history of trying to avert our symptoms from using carbolic smoke balls to iodine lockets hung around the neck in the early 20th century.
Hospitals used to have brass handles on the doors to stop the transmission of germs as it effectively disinfected itself. Since then, we have adopted the use of disposable tissues and antibacterial hand gel which we can carry on us and use regularly to prevent the spread of germs. To further prevent this spread, doctors suggest always washing your hands by rubbing them with antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds and then running them under warm water.