How to deal with cold, flu or sinus congestion.
Well I finally managed to fall prey to a cold. My body and immune system have been strong and healthy for more than a year thanks to taking good care (insert GOOD food, APPROPRIATE training, sufficient SLEEP, POSITIVE mindset & NOT TAKING LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY).
But none of us are invincible and after a busy Christmas of family and fun, training, and working as a pharmacist as well as therapist, I guess things just caught up with me.
I don’t have time to be sick for long or for elaborate solutions; so I will give you a synopsis of what I am doing with a few additional tips.
It is vital to catch the infection at the first signs of symptoms. These are often sneezing, tickly/ sore throat, runny nose, feeling under the weather, headache, increased thirst, fatigue, shivers, aches and pains, and also inability to maintain high intensity training sessions with a perceived increased heart rate.
1. Day off training. One day off is better being the dumb hero who ends up ill for a week or more. When it comes to training the answer as to whether to train or not is it depends. It depends on your symptoms, it depends on their severity and location, it depends on the chosen activity, the intensity and also the location or weather conditions. Please seek advice from a therapist, your coach or someone who knows what they are talking about.
2. Stuff in my tea – right now bay leaf, chopped ginger, cloves, lemon and a dash of stevia. I am not an extremist, but if you are up to the challenge garlic and turmeric are super additions. Cayenne pepper is also helpful; it can be a tad on the hot side for sensitive stomachs but super for the cold symptoms!
3. Broth in my tummy – I am a big believer in the healing power of broth. Last night I made a big batch using the following ingredients: fresh root ginger, fresh chili, several cloves of garlic, onion, celery, sweet potato (carrot will also be a good option), red pepper, green cabbage, bone marrow bones (I chose to also add some stewing meat on the bone that contained marrow as i wanted to add protein to the broth) and filtered water.
I forgot to add turmeric and highly recommend this power herb anywhere that you can get it in! Other fresh and dried herbs and spices can be added where and when you wish; they all hold numerous healing properties.
Just because you are ill and need to take a day off from training does not mean that you must starve yourself to make up for your inactivity. The body needs both energy and nutrition to assist healing. Quality protein, mineral and vitamin rich foods, colourful plant foods rich in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory rich herbs and spices being of prime importance. Also, it is best to assist your body with gently cooked, warm and easy to digest foods like stews, soups, broths and teas.
Follow your intuition; your body usually knows what it needs
4. Herbs to chase the virus away. I am fortunate that I have an herbal artillery in the clinic so I mixed up a blend of Echinacea angustifolia, Sambucus, Olive leaf, Thyme, Licorice, Schisandra and Vaccinium for myself. Not everyone will require this same mixture and most herbalists have their own tried and tested blends for coughs and colds.