Throughout the past several years, I have learned so much about nature and its amazing healing properties. I really believe food is medicine and I always try to cure myself with natural remedies before reaching for an over-the-counter medicine. What many of us don’t realize is that the medicine we take doesn’t really cure the cold, it just suppresses the symptoms. You might feel better but your body is still fighting the cold. It would be much better to assist our bodies in this process rather than masking the symptoms. Do you know exactly what’s inside those medicines? I don’t even think we want to find out – remote from what nature has to offer us that’s for sure.

Catching a cold means that our immune system has weakened, likely caused by lack of sleep, stress, poor nutrition etc. Therefore, we want to take care of ourselves and eat the right foods that will boost our metabolism. The first step to stay healthy is preventing the cold itself. This means eating your greens and nourishing your body with healthy ingredients. You are what you eat!

When you eat highly processed food, you are literally attacking your body and making it much more difficult for this amazing system of ours to work efficiently. Aim for nutrient dense foods that are alkaline since these are the most beneficial for our health. Any type of disease is an inflammation in our body and it feeds off acidic food and sugar amongst other things. Remember illnesses thrive in an acidic environment; not only a common cold but even cancer itself. Eating sugar makes it much more difficult for your body to recover— studies have shown that it reduces the ability for our white blood cells to kill bacteria. 

For curing colds, avoid sugar-rich foods, including fruit juices, and ditch alcohol, dairy, meat, white foods (pasta and bread) for a time being. Anything that can cause inflammation and make your body more acidic will only make symptoms worse and prolong the sickness. Be patient as natural remedies don’t mask our symptoms but actually work through them!

My personal favorite natural remedies:

– Drink more fluids— lots and lots of water with lemon will make your body more alkaline

– Drink your greens— if it’s hard for you to eat spinach, kale, and celery daily, make a juice or smoothie to get your dose of nutrients!

– Kill bacteria and improve your immune system with garlic (best if eaten raw to cure a cold), ginger (see our miracle shot here), cinnamon and curcuma (add them to your tea or food), echinacea (often sold in pills)*

– Use essential oils for a cold— Frankincense, Melaleuca, Peppermint*

– Consume highly absorbable Vitamin C (I recommend this one!)

– Make a steam bath (fill a bowl with boiling water, add essential oils or fresh herbs like peppermint and thyme. Sit comfortably and cover yourself with a towel over the bowl so the steam doesn’t escape. Breathe in for 10-15 minutes. It’s also highly beneficial for the skin!)

– Rest, rest, rest! Your body needs time to recover

* Herbs and Spices: Garlic has many antibacterial properties; Ginger is highly anti-inflammatory and helps to decongest and eliminate toxins faster in the body; Cinnamon and Curcuma have many anti-inflammatory properties good for menstrual cramps, pain, bruises, and indigestion; and Echinacea is a beautiful pink flower that is one of the most common remedies.

* Essential Oils: Frankincense is a master oil that has cured many illnesses for me and provided immediate relief from a cold, sore throat, to cystitis and more. Made from tree resin, it’s highly beneficial for our immune systems, though it’s very important to buy high quality Frankincense. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help choosing! Melaleuca (tea tree) and Peppermint are both great to diffuse and apply to your chest or under the sole of your feet to decrease congestion and other flue-like symptoms.

* This article was contributed by Martina Avanzini, holistic health coach at Martinaturally.