6 Ways to "Feed a Cold" for Natural Relief
'Tis the season of runny noses, watery eyes and aching ears -- ah the joys of winter approaching us! With the October snowstorm that blanketed the Northeast recently, we can't be too prepared for what's heading our way. It seems that last winter, at least once a month someone in my household was complaining of aches, pains and sniffles. It still baffles me that in our modern day and age there is still no cure for the common cold! No little pill to pop, no magic syrup, no aggressive vitamin that will make it all go away ... even the flu vaccine has doubts and misconceptions (although still recommended for those age 18-65); it now seems that new studies reveal its effectiveness is limited to less than 60 percent, as The Huffington Post elaborates here.
As The Sneaky Chef, I have always subscribed to the theory that food is our best medicine, and I am in awe of the power and health benefits of whole, natural foods. As a society, we rely so much on prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines that we tend to forget Mother Nature's biggest lesson of all -- that our dietary intake can simply and magically work wonders. With a little knowledge and care, we can a help our bodies overcome obstacles, prevent illness and regain health.
There's a dizzying assortment of over-the-counter syrups and remedies that promise the world, but beware that most simply block the symptoms and do not cure the ailment. Plus, many syrupy medicines containing dextromethorphan have been declared potentially harmful in small children by the Food and Drug Administration.
Granted if I need to make a TV appearance or do a photo shoot while my nose is bright red and tissue papers are crammed in every pocket, I do head to the local pharmacy, but I do that in full recognition that I am merely blasting out the symptoms for the short term, and am bound to experience side effects and rebounds! I began experimenting and researching non-medicinal methods of therapy in order to bring some comfort to the pains, aches and chills associated with the common cold and flu. Since the inevitable is approaching, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the home remedies that work for my family:
Word of caution: Please seek medical advice if symptoms persist for more than a week or so, or if you have a fever, which may indicate a secondary infection. Contrary to my children's belief, I'm not an actual doctor!
It feels good and will make you forget your disturbances for a while. In the meantime, it helps relieve symptoms of chest congestion by relaxing your breathing from promoting coughing. For a quick alternative, simply put your head under a towel over a sink full of steamy, hot water for the same effect.
The steam of the hot soup will help clear your air passages and give you some breathing relief; plus it's yummy comfort food that will send you flying back to your childhood days!
This nasal saline irrigation uses salt and water to flush out the nasal passages and relieve congestion and pressure in your head.
They are little "candies" that promise to shorten the duration and severity of cold symptoms. My family uses them regularly, and I've personally found them to be very helpful. Some people find they cause nausea, so I would recommend eating them right after a meal.
<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1 " target="_hplink">Research</a> shows "parents rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief of their child's nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection." <em>You should never give honey to children under 1 year of age because of the risk of infantile botulism.</em>
This sweet, frozen-fruit smoothie has a big dose of immune-boosting vitamin C and antioxidants, which may help ward off colds and flu. The surprise ingredient here, black tea, has been shown to build up germ-fighting powers. The honey not only sweetens the deal, but soothes sore throats and coughs, too. Makes 4 servings 2 cups brewed decaffeinated black tea, cooled 1 large orange, peeled 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, rinsed (If using frozen, use a brand without syrup or added sugar.) Juice from 1 fresh lemon 4 tablespoons honey 2 to 3 cups ice Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Serve in a tall glass with a straw (or pour into Popsicle molds and freeze).
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