Runny noses, coughs, sore throats it seems like everyone one is sick and that the common cold is just that… common amongst all of us! So lets talk about how to recover quickly as possible and I’ll also share my favorite recipes for the cold fighting superfoods, ginger, turmeric and garlic. But first lets go over what the common cold is. Once we understand it’s nature we can then better understand how to treat it.
The Common Cold
The common cold is usually caused by a rhinovirus. Rhinoviruses usually cause upper respiratory infections, but they can cause lower respiratory infections and in some cases pneumonia too. The incubation period is usually brief, only 12-72 hours after exposure to the virus.
Exposure can happen when you are near someone who already has a cold and coughs or sneezes or when you touch an infected surface like your keyboard, phone or doorknob and then touch your nose or mouth. From there your cold will begin when the virus attaches itself to the lining in your nose or throat. And to clear up confusion about reinfection, you cannot be reinfected by the same virus.
How Long does it Last on Surfaces?
Cold viruses have been shown to survive on surfaces for several days however their ability to cause an infection reduces rapidly and they often don’t survive longer than 24 hours. They typically last on hands for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, tissues and clothing for 30-45min and worktops or doorhandles for about 6hrs. So keep your devices, hands and clothes clean! And try not to touch your face at all. Hard to do but its worth building the habit if it means you’ll stay healthy this winter.
How to Recover
2. Drink extra fluids.
3. Pain Management: Use over the counter medication to help numb pain and for help with eliminating infected mucus. For natural remedies try salt gargling to ease the pain of a sore throat. Netty pot, drinking hot liquids and taking steamy showers will all help with drainage elimination too.
4. Eat infection fighting foods.
5. Stay clean to avoid infecting people around you. Change clothes & bedding, keep hands clean and used tissues in the trash.
How to Use the 3 Cold Fighting Superfoods
We all know vitamin C helps boost immunity to help fight bacteria and viruses that enter our system but there are more cold fighting super foods that can help keep you healthy this winter. I’m talking about Ginger, Turmeric and Garlic. These 3 roots are immune boosting, cold fighting super foods and if you eat them regularly research has shown that you are less likely to catch a cold and if you do then your recovery time may be shorter too.
Get used to these spices and start incorporating them in all of your foods. The raw version is always best but if you’re spice shy then start with the dry, ground kind and work your way up to the real thing. Turmeric is lovely when paired with celery salt & black pepper as a rub for fish and poultry. Garlic is good in almost anything! I like to use whole cloves to infuse oils or to bake with veggies or red meat. You can pair it with any herb, add salt & pepper and create a nice spice blend to use on fish or any meat really! And ginger is my favorite. It has so many healing effects but I mostly feel the calming effects it has on my digestive system when I eat it. You can use it in oatmeal, on sweet potatoes, salad and of course sushi and any fish too.
High in vitamin C, magnesium and other minerals, ginger is an incredible immunity booster and inflammation reducer too.
1. Chop a 3 inch piece of fresh ginger.
2. Add to 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 cups of boiling water.
3. Stir well and then cover for about 10 minutes.
4. Strain and drink.
Traditionally, turmeric milk has been used for colds, congestion, headache, sore throats and to treat viral infections because of its antimicrobial properties. Its also high in antioxidants and helps rid the body of toxins. I love turmeric milk aka Golden Milk which is an ancient Indian recipe (see below) and have it about once a week during the winter.
Heat 1tsp turmeric, a dash of black pepper (helps absorption of turmeric) and 1cup almond milk.
Ginger & Turmeric Citrus Tea
1. ¼ cup fresh ginger root or 1 Tbsp dried
2. ¼ cup fresh turmeric root or 1 Tbsp dried
3. 1 orange, peeled
4. 1 lemon, peeled
5. Water, honey and coconut oil as needed
Garlic has antiseptic properties that help boost the immune system and also contains Allicine, a powerful antibacterial anti-oxidant that kills the cold virus. It also helps promote healthy gut flora, which rids the body of toxins, bacteria and viruses. My favorite fact on garlic is that the oil is a natural expectorant that breaks up mucus to clear congestion. So who needs mucinex if you can handle taking in enough garlic to kick your cold?
And that’s exactly the question, can you handle eating a raw clove of garlic every 3-4hrs for 3 days? Because thats exactly what research shows is the most effective way to consume it (versus taking a garlic supplement). I ate it raw and it certainly wasn’t something Im ready to do again, but I like to try crazy things like this just out of curiosity for whether or not it’ll work on my body. I think it did have a positive effect because I always felt a little better about an hour after eating the garlic clove. But if you can’t stomach eating it raw then cook with it to get as much in as possible or follow the old Spanish recipe for garlic tea below. Its actually warming and good. Similar in a way to chicken broth without all the herb flavors.
1. Boil 3 cups of water and 3 cloves of garlic (cut in half).
2. Turn off the heat when the water boils, and add 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice.