Remember when you were a little kid and feeling SO under the weather that your parents let you stay home from school? As a child of immigrant parents who both worked, I have to say the days of staying home were far and few between. When I did stay home, I knew that I was ACTUALLY very sick – in fact, I would often despair that this was in fact “the end of days” for my young self. Then came out the junk foods: Twizzlers, pizza pops (remember those) and the whole gauntlet. As an adult with a nutrition degree, I now realize just how misguided (but well-meaning) consuming these foods actually was!
I know when we are feeling sick, the LAST thing we want to do is prepare a super complex meal that requires a lot of effort. However, stocking your pantry, fridge and freezer with the foods mentioned below will allow you to approach a cold with support and love, instead of panic and sugar. You’ll be better able to serve yourself and those in your household who may require your support. I want you to also remember that often a cold or flu is a manifestation of underlying stress, so try to pay attention to the delicate cues your body offers before it rollercoasters into a full-blown cold. But for now, let’s get into the foods!
1) Bone broth. This has been recommended as a remedy for the common cold for hundreds of years – for great reason! Bone broth is a highly absorbable source of vitamins, minerals and proteins, which are required when you are feeling ill in mega-doses. It’s also a great source of fluid for rehydration and electrolytes, both of which are necessary to help you kick the sick. It can act as a natural decongestant for clearing blocked and stuffy nasal passages. Meat broth also contains n-acetyl cysteine, which can further help break apart mucus and has potent anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. There are so many recipes on the internet, but I like this one. Best of all, bone broth is totally something you can make when you are feeling healthy and store in the freezer for those not so hot days.
2) Garlic. Yes, you may have to deal with stinky breath but at least you’ll be thriving and vibrant! Garlic has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years and has strong antibacterial anti-viral and anti-fungal effects. Learn how to cook with garlic in a way that works for you and consider adding it to your broths and soups. Don’t underestimate this potent and powerful bulb.
3) Herbal teas. When you’re sick, especially if you have a sore throat, you may be yearning to reach for hot beverages. I suggest staying away from coffee, which can be dehydrating, and instead incorporate beautiful herbal teas into your wellness (or get-back-to-wellness) routine. Teas are abundant in natural plant compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins. These can help to stimulate the immune system. Tea is often soothing on the throat and inhaling the steam can help open up blocked nasal passages.
4) Honey. Tea and honey, you ask? Absolutely! A sore throat can be caused by a bacterial infection, and honey is loaded with antimicrobials, which can help assist in clearing those pesky throat infections. There are a number of studies that show that honey can often be more effective than diphenhydramine and salbutamol, common ingredients found in cough medicine.
Please note: honey should never be given to infants under 12 months of age.
I want to add that you may simply feel like you have no appetite for eating anything at all. If you are feeling like this, I want you to honour where you are at as this is also a completely natural response to feeling sick. Your body may not want to burden itself with the process of digestion and may in fact want to use of all its resources to fight the cold or flu at hand. Also, pay attention to any cravings as these can also be strong cues for an underlying physical need that is not being met.
Affirmation from Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” regarding colds: I allow my mind to relax and be at peace. Clarity and harmony are within me and all around me. All is well.
As your Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant at Naturmend, I am committed to creating healthy communities. I believe in honouring the unique biochemical individuality of each person who walks through my door and in the amazing benefits of a whole food diet. A healthy body and balanced mind are the cornerstones of a happy existence.