Hi friends! Have you heard the phrase “food as medicine”? Okay, maybe this is my hippie side coming out, but I believe that many of our health problems can be solved simply by eating and drinking the right things. In fact, whenever I’m feeling sick, before reaching for medicine, I’ll try natural solutions first, starting with food and moving to supplements. Adding in environment shifts and stress-reducing tactics along the way. I’ve shared a post on 20 Get Well Soon Recipes and DIY home remedies before. Today, I’m sharing Natural Cold Remedies and Immunity Boosters.

I actually had a bit of a cold recently, and this is literally what I used to kick it to the curb…there’s a mixture of foods, drinks, and supplements listed below. And a Bailey photo. Haven’t shared one in awhile, so here you go!

Disclaimer: Of course, I’m not a doctor, so these aren’t necessarily things I’m telling you to eat/drink/consume/etc. Listen to your body and work with your health care providers as you need. Use this list as information and input to your own research and talk to your health care provider before trying these.

Note: This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links, I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you. I use and love the products below. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Natural Cold Remedies and Immunity Boosters

What to Eat and Drink to Reduce Colds and/or Boost Immunity

Even before supplements, I’ll often start with foods and drinks that will provide lots of nutrients and other tools to help my body fight off whatever I’m dealing with.

Eat Your Veggies (and Fruits)

Natural Cold Remedies and Immunity Boosters

{Oranges are great for vitamin C, but you may want to avoid them if you have an upset stomach because oranges are acidic and can bother your stomach}

So if I feel a cold coming on, and I want to prevent it, or if I’m in full on cold / sicky mode, and I want it to go away fast, I figure the best thing to do is consume as many fruits and veggies as possible. For me at least, I generally don’t think I eat enough of either. So when I shoot to eat as much as possible, it won’t be a matter of overdoing it.

This article by Thomas Campbell (co-author of The China Study) reviews whether diet plays a role in fighting the common cold:

There certainly continue to be anecdotal reports of fewer viral infections while eating a healthy diet and there are many indirect bits of evidence to suggest that diet matters a great deal. In addition, from well done clinical studies we know that sleep and stress make a real difference in whether or not we successfully fend off viruses.

See tips below on reducing stress.

Food Is the Best Way to Get Your Vitamins and Nutrients

In the nutrition course I took earlier this year, I learned that consuming whole, plant-based foods is the best way to get vitamins and nutrient into our bodies. Our bodies tend to process this way better and can often absorb vitamins and nutrient much more effectively.

Here’s another source. According to an article by Harvard:

Both Dr. Sesso and Dr. Lo advise that you try to improve your diet before you use supplements. That’s because nutrients are most potent when they come from food. “They are accompanied by many nonessential but beneficial nutrients, such as hundreds of carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, and antioxidants that aren’t in most supplements,” says Dr. Lo.

Plus, “food tastes better and is often less expensive than adding supplements,” says Dr. Sesso. “Work with a dietitian, and try to get a sense of what’s missing from your diet and what changes might be considered.”

Note: See later in this post for a note on vitamin D. 

Include Fruits and Veggies In Your Snacks

If you have an appetite, one thing I like to do is sneak some fruits or veggies into my snacks. Sure, I could have cracked open a bag of my fave salt & vinegar chips. But by opting for chips and salsa, I get the nutritional benefit of the veggies in the salsa and get a chance to get another diverse group of vitamins and nutrients into my body.

Brothy Soups

Have you seen all the articles saying that the old wives’ tale that chicken noodle soup cured the common cold is true? Pretty cool!

When I’m feeling under the weather, making a batch of my Mom’s Get Well Soup always helps me feel better. This recipe is basically a Filipino version of chicken noodle soup. With rice instead of noodles of course. It’s really simple and tastes great.

Sometimes I put too much rice in the pot (so the above is not very brothy). But you can always add more broth to get it more liquidy. I like to keep one of those four-packs of broths (the kind in the box, not can) for this.

And while the soup is fantastic, I’ll often add a side of steamed veggies to try to get more vitamins and nutrients into my body whilst enjoying my comfort food soup.

Drink *Enough* Liquids

Have you heard the advice to drink lots of liquids when you’re sick? According to an article over at the NY Times:

…some scientists suspect that loading up on liquid — that is, beyond the normal amount required in a day — may not do much good.

So, the focus is on enough, not too much?! I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I’m less inclined to drink the liquids I should. So, the reminder to drink liquids helps me reach my basic requirements.

Sometimes I’ll reach for coconut water.

Sometimes it’s simply straight up water.

And a lot of times, it’s hot tea. With honey. Because it makes my throat feel good.

And occasionally, I’ll reach for fresh-pressed juice. Again…trying to get those vitamins and nutrients into my body to help it fight back. I love how these often contain the juice of 5, 8, or many more fruits and vegetables. Different fruits and veggies provide such a diverse combination of nutritional value, which I love.

As my dad has always told me, shoot for diversity with your foods to get as much nutritional coverage as possible.

Eating the whole foods is better, but sometimes you don’t want to or can’t as easily eat all that fruit.

Think dessert is out of the question? While I do try to avoid inflammatory processed desserts, I don’t see anything wrong with a nice, healthy dessert. Sometimes, you can use them as an opportunity to consume even more plant-based whole foods.

For example, this Coconut Chia Pudding with anti-inflammatory Blue Majick contains chia seeds and is an easy base to add a slew of healthful toppings like fruits, nuts, and seeds.

What About Supplements to Get Well and Boost Immunity?

Personally, I like to take supplements occasionally, but I don’t like to depend on them. It’s just the way I roll. But, I will consume a bit more of the supplements I’ve researched to help recover from being under the weather and boost immunity if I feel it would help me improve.

One of the newer supplements I’ve been testing out is Reishi powder. Reishi is a mushroom. I was afraid to take this at first because it’s more intimidating than pro-biotics. I mean…mushroom powder? It just sounds weird, right? But, the staff at one of my favorite yoga studios sold me on it when they raved about how much they like taking it. Though I’d read some articles online that said you shouldn’t take reishi for an extended period of time, my friends at the yoga studio told me they took it every day. To each, their own, right? You gotta do what works best for you.

 

Update: After publishing this post, I remembered one of my blog friends, Stepfanie of The Flexible Kitchen recently published a book on the healing powers of mushrooms. A friend who is an expert mushrooms. Yes! So I reached out to her to do a quick blurb about reishi, and here’s what she says:

If there’s one mushroom to rule them all, it’s reishi. It’s actually called the queen of mushrooms. Reishi protects the immune system by regulating natural killer cells and cytokine responses. Reishi is also a potent antioxidant that keeps inflammation in check.

Reishi grows from hardwood trees and must be extracted into a powder or liquid (or cooked into tea or broth) before consuming. It’s far too tough to chew, though the young white tips can be cooked like any culinary mushroom.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is known as the mushroom of immortality — it’s incredibly versatile and has more than 4,000 years of use in China and Japan. It can be bitter, and that’s a sign of potency. If your reishi extract or powder isn’t bitter, you’re not getting much mushroom medicine.

Beyond its common use for sleep, stress and general immune health and vitality, reishi has been used for the liver, kidneys, high blood pressure, arthritis, bronchitis, asthma, gastric ulcers, cancer and age-related decline. It’s often used in traditional Chinese medicine as ginseng is, to support endurance and balance endocrine and hormonal levels.

Reishi is a restorative adaptogen, meaning it has a relaxing effect throughout the body, and it seems to relieve stress-related tension, too. It doesn’t have a sedative effect, so enjoy reishi any time of day or night.

I like to whisk it into my coffee or matcha.

Learn more about reishi in Cooking with Healing Mushrooms, which is available for pre-order.

Thank you, Stepfanie!

Okay, so I almost didn’t blog about this one because it seems to be fairly scandalous. But if I’m being honest, after researching this a ton, I do take colloidal silver. Veryyy sparingly. I first heard about colloidal silver from one of my natural health friends. “It basically cures everything”, they said. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I was pretty sick several years ago. When you’re desperate enough, you’ll try anything, right? Anywho, I caved and had a bit, and it did seem to help me feel better faster. So, I’ll end this note by saying that I’m still not sold that this is the holy grail wellness supplement. And I’d love to hear if you use this or don’t and why.

Note: I purchased my colloidal silver at Whole Foods because I trust their quality. I probably would’t buy this one online unless it was from a reputable distributor.

Utilize / Maximize Your Environment

Get Outside for Vitamin D

So you know how we talked about getting vitamins from food before? The body best absorbs vitamin D from the sun. I find this a difficult balance because too much such can be very bad for you. So, what’s the balance? I’ve heard so many things. But my aunt, who is a dermatologist in Cali, directed my dad to spend 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen as general advice. So, that’s what I try to do now and again. Actual needs are dependent on your skin, time of year, how much of your skin is exposed, etc. So if you want to know how much you need, consider looking for an online calculator or speaking with your dermatologist.

I find sun can be hard to get when you work 9-to-5. Especially when daylight savings hasn’t made the sun appear earlier in the day. And we’re bundled up in cold weather months. Of course, everyone’s vitamin D needs are different. If you’re unsure how your vitamin D levels are looking and you want to know what they are, you can consider doing a blood test at your doctor’s office.

So why should you care? According to this article by Harvard Health:

…research conducted over the past decade suggests that vitamin D plays a much broader disease-fighting role than once thought.

Being “D-ficient” may increase the risk of a host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even the seasonal flu.

Not to mention it’s relaxing to sit in the sun for a bit And the fresh air probably helps too.

Use Nature to Keep Stress Down

Natural Cold Remedies and Immunity Boosters

Speaking of fresh air, did you see my recent post about using nature as quick trick to de-stress. I’ve seen no scientific evidence of this curing a cold or boosting immunity, but I surely feel better when I’ve been spending a bit of time in nature. Wouldn’t the de-stressing also help you boost your wellness?

Oh wait, I did find this article for you over at Harvard Health. And check out this note:

Health problems are one result. A prime example is high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. The stress response also suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. Moreover, the buildup of stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.

So, I guess it does help! Also, the article features a de-stressing breathing technique if you’re interested in more ideas for this.

Bath Time

Isn’t a bath nice and relaxing? Turns out, it can help you out when you have a cold.

According to this article over on Livestrong.com:

Seawater both soothes and sanitizes your body. Plus, it is similar to Epsom salts in that it contains magnesium, which helps to boost the immune system.

And…

In fact, according to Dr. Theresa Ramsey, co-founder of the Center for Natural Healing in Arizona, an Epsom salt bath stimulates a process called vasodilation, which increases white blood cell production and aids the body in fighting illnesses more efficiently.

I loved this three-pack of Epsom salt bags. But I also added a drop of lavender essential oil to the plain salt option. I’ve been a Young Living distributor for several years now, but I haven’t blogged about it much. If you’re interested in getting some oils or signing up, let me know, and I’ll send you my links.

Disclaimer reminder: Of course, just like all of the ideas in this post, Epsom salt may not be healthy for you. Please consult your health care provider before trying this or any of the other ideas in this post.

Essential Oils

As I mentioned above, I’m a Young Living distributor. But, I’m a pretty light user. For the most part, I diffuse different oils for stress relief and to make my home environment extra peaceful. But, I also use the Thieves blend when I’m under the weather. Thieves is a blend that has one of those stories about how some thieves used a similar blend to stay well during a plague while stealing in contaminated areas. Or something like that.

Most often, I’ll diffuse it while I’m sleeping. It seems to make me feel better faster. If you’re interested in the oil, send me a note, and I’ll reply with more info.

Get Some QT with Your Furry Friends

I’m not the only one who turns to my dog when they’re feeling stressed, right? Turns out, pets can actually help boost your immune system (in addition to reducing stress levels).

According to this article over at Mother Nature Network:

…just a brief pet encounter can invigorate your disease-defense system. In one study, petting a dog for only 18 minutes raised immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in college students’ saliva, a sign of robust immune function.

Get over here, Bailey…let’s snuggle!

But Wait, Is This All a Bunch of Nonsense?

If you’re an objective thinker like me, you may find this article saying supplements that boost the immune system aren’t real an interesting read.

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged about health as much is because I feel like there are different groups pushing different agendas. Some argue for natural. Some argue for science.

For me, when I get sick or super stressed, it’s usually related to not balancing my stress levels and not consuming my normal healthy eats. So, I use the above to get back on track eating well and to decrease stress levels. They may not be backed by science, but they sure do help me feel better.

More Wellness Links

Try this quick trick to de-stress in minutes using nature (free and fun!)

My vitamin regime for general wellness

20 Get Well Soon Recipes and DIY home remedies

Wellness Recipes

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea Recipe

Mom’s Get Well Soup Recipe

Whole Health Noodle Soup Recipe

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Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed this Natural Cold Remedies and Immunity Boosters post.

What do you do to get well the natural way?