6 Ways to Battle a Cold with Nutrition

No one likes getting sick, yet it’s something a lot of folks seem to think is inevitable. “Cold and Flu Season” comes around every year and it’s just something we have to deal with, right? Kind of like weight gain is just bound to happen with age to every single person on the planet and there’s no way around it, right? Wrong. The good news is that neither of these scenarios have to be that way! One of our favorite parts of the PFC lifestyle is not getting sick! We love watching clients make this connection in their coaching appointments. Their eyes light up as they reminisce over the days and weeks they’d miss out on fun life events due to sickness and how this doesn’t happen to them anymore. A reduced number of colds and their duration is one of the awesome benefits that goes along with providing your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your immune system up to par which keeps you healthy.

1. Avoid Sugar

Sugars, grains and other starchy foods negatively affect your immunity because your immune system is suppressed for several hours after ingesting them. Multiple studies agree that after ingestion of simple sugars (especially table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) there is a huge decrease in white blood cell production—many studies suggest 50%. Thankfully, if you have been following our PFC lifestyle, this tip isn't a tough one to implement! Remember that if you're sick or don't want to get sick, it's important to give your body nutrients, not sugar!

2. Increase Your Intake of Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Vitamin D: We have been told for too long that Vitamin C is the magical fix for colds and healing, and while it can be helpful, I want to direct your attention to Vitamin D. This nutritional superhero supports the antimicrobial process in the body by regulating the antimicrobial gene that supports white blood cell production and we think it's way more important to supplement with Vitamin D than Vitamin C. In general, we recommend 10,000 IU every other day to keep your level stable or to slightly increase it, and if your level is low, it's going to be important to increase your supplementation further in order to get it into the normal range. We want your Vitamin D level between 50 and 80 ng/ml for a healthy metabolism, good moods, strong immune function, excellent bone density and more. Most of us have a low level unless we are supplementing daily, so it's wise to get it checked! Zinc is essential for normal regulation of natural killer cells—the ones who keep your immune system strong. It also helps heal up wounds and maintain a strong cell wall (to avoid invaders). Zinc is naturally found in foods like oysters, dark meat chicken, beef, cashews, almonds, and yogurt. Dynamic Greens is a powdered blend of super fruits, veggies, antioxidants and probiotics that keep your immune function working up to par. Generally we recommend 1-2 sccops a day for prevention, and if you feel a cold coming on, increase to 3-4 scoops throughout the day to help you keep the sickness at bay. We love mixing it into smoothies, adding to plain yogurt for flavor and even mixing it with cold water (a great juice replacement for kiddos!) or hot water (drink it like tea!). ImmuCore: A comprehensive immune boosting supplement that contains all of the aforementioned nutrients (Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Zinc) and a few others including Selenium, an immune supporting mineral (it stimulates the development and function of all types of white blood cells). This time of year our general recommendation is 1-3 tablets of ImmuCore per day for adults and kids alike, taken in conjunction with your daily Vitamin D supplement. Many of our clients swear that the combination of ImmuCore and Dynamic Greens keeps their kids from missing school from sickness.

3. Eat More Naturally Anti-Microbial Foods

Garlic not only fights bacteria but it can also kill fungi and viruses. Fresh cloves of garlic have the most anti-microbial effect. Crush them up and swallow them whole, or crush a clove and rub on the bottoms of your feet! Ginger contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that specifically target viruses that affect the head and neck region. Shred some ginger into a cup of tea or a cup of hot water and let it steep for a bit before drinking it. Mushrooms are great for the immune system as they increase the production of cytokines to help fight off the bad guys. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi varieties are the best for your immune system. (Not only does Immucore contain immune boosting minerals and antioxidants, but it also has the added benefit of these mushrooms!)

4. Hot Liquids

Nourishing, healing and soothing are a few reasons to sip on these hot liquids. Bone Broth. Chicken soup has long been the “go-to” food when someone is dealing with the cold or flu. Unlike the typical canned chicken noodle soup variety that can be full of MSG and additives, a high quality soup made from real soup bones (bone broth) is super beneficial for the immune system as the gelatin and collagen that is found in the broth is essential for a healthy gut (which leads to a healthy immune system). Cassie shows us how easy it is to make in this TV segment. Herbal teas and lemon in hot water are not only soothing to a sore throat, but provide your body with hydration, antioxidants and other immune boosting nutrients from the herbs and tea leaves.

5. Probiotics

A healthy and supported gut is essential for a strong immune system that is ready to fight when an infection comes your way. Keep your gut populated with good bacteria so that it’s easy to defeat the bad bacteria when it enters your GI tract. We generally recommend taking probiotics daily to keep your gut flora balanced, and this time of year, it's not a bad idea to increase your dose (generally we'd recommend increasing by a capsule or two per day and by much more if you're on an antibiotic or are sick with something else).

6. Sleep

Sleep doesn’t fall under the “nutrition” category, but it certainly matters when it comes to fighting the common cold and flu! Rest is essential to a strong immune system and a speedy recovery if you do get sick. You can read our sleep strategies here. Ever heard that saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? The six tips we just covered not only help speed up recovery once you’ve been caught with a cold, but they also are important preventative measures. What other natural remedies do you use for curing the cold?

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