Flu: Expert reveals differences between flu and common cold
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Colds and cases of flu are only minor illnesses, but they can totally wipe you out and ruin plans. If you’re currently battling a seemingly never-ending cold or flu, you’re probably clueless about how to get back up on your feet again. Don’t worry, good nutrition and a few lifestyle changes can help speed up the waiting time. Express.co.uk chatted to Claire Barnes, Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult (www.bio-kult.com) to find out the seven natural and unique cold and flu remedies you have to try.
So what’s the bizarre tip for curing your cold?
Barefoot walking may not be the first thing you think of when you’re feeling poorly, but there is some evidence of connecting the body to the earth (Earthing) that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the body.
Claire said: “It has been shown that Earthing accelerates immune response following vaccination, and Earthing has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects and improvements in the immune response necessary for recovery from colds and flu.
“Whilst, this may not be practical for walking down the street, you may want to give it a go in the back garden or find a quiet spot in a local park.
Other key cold cures you should give a go this season
If you’ve never tried Elderberry Syrup, now is your chance.
Claire said: “Elderberry Syrup is a great supplement to keep in the fridge and take throughout the winter to help prevent respiratory infections or to take when you notice the first sniffle or sore throat emerging.
“Not only does it taste great and soothes an irritated throat, but it is also rich in vitamins C and polyphenols, mostly anthocyanins which have antiviral effects.”
If you don’t have elderberry syrup, other berry beverages could also be of benefit.
For example, frozen berries such as blackberries and cranberries can be heated up with Manuka honey and filtered water and left to simmer before blending.
Once cooled, pour into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge over the winter season.
Claire advised: “Take one to two teaspoons each morning as a preventative or when you notice the first signs of a cold or flu arising.”
Did you know that approximately 70 percent of our immune cells are located in the gut?
By improving the health of our gut through maintaining our gut barrier defence and improving the balance of our gut microbiome, we could actually help to fight off infections before they get a chance to set off an immune reaction, according to nutritional therapist Claire.
She explained: “Fermented foods are a great way to increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which help to inhibit harmful bacteria and viruses and help to maintain the integrity of the gut lining.
“Traditionally, these foods would have been eaten daily as these were how we preserved our foods. Today, we rely on fridges and freezers and so many Western diets are lacking in beneficial bacteria. “Fortunately there has been a resurgence in preparing and consuming fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and kombucha. “
If you can’t face the thought of preparing or consuming fermented foods while feeling poorly, you could opt for a live bacteria supplement instead.
Claire said: “Choose one that has multiple strains which may help inhibit more viruses and harmful microbes, such as Bio-Kult Advanced (RRP £9.48) which contains 14 different strains.”
“You may even be able to find a local guide in your area.”
Don’t doubt the power of essential oils, especially eucalyptus oil.
Claire said: “A few drops on your pillow before going to sleep, added to a vaporiser or even a steamy bath could help to clear mucus and help you to breathe easier.”
All that nose blowing can leave the delicate skin around the nose irritated and inflamed, but you can smooth on some coconut oil to soothe it.
Coconut oil also acts as an antimicrobial, helping to rebalance the skin’s natural microbiome.
Claire added: “Whilst it’s a good idea to wash hands more frequently when suffering from a cold or flu to help reduce the risk of spreading, this too can leave skin dry, irritated and inflamed, massaging coconut oil into hands after washing them can help restore moisture.
“Additionally, in Ayurvedic medicine, massaging oil into hands and feet is also claimed to help lead to better sleep.
“There’s no need to buy expensive skin-specific coconut oil, you should be able to find jars of organic virgin coconut oil in most supermarkets located near the vegetable oils.”
Bone broth is overlooked in today’s fast-paced society, but this may have been your granny’s go-to ‘pick-me-up’ when feeling under the weather back in the day.
Claire said: “Bone broth is made by using the leftover organic meat or fish bones and putting them into a slow cooker adding water to cover, vegetables and herbs can also be added for flavour and additional nutrients.
“Leave this to simmer for at least 48 hours, strain and consume as a hot drink or add to soups and stews.
“As well as plenty of vitamins and minerals, bone broth contains butyrate, glutamine and collagen all known for healing and maintaining the gut lining.
“As this is our first line of defence against infection, clearly helping to keep it healthy could help prevent infections whilst also helping to reduce inflammation.”
Garlic has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries for good reason.
Claire said: “Garlic has antiviral, antibiotic, and antimicrobial properties.
“Garlic has been shown to relieve cold symptoms, shorten a cold’s duration, and naturally boost the immune system.
“You can take supplements, but garlic is most effective when it’s eaten raw.”
The nutritional therapist recommends crushing up a clove and letting it sit out for 15 minutes.
She said: “This allows time for allicin, a potent antibacterial agent, to develop.
“You can eat it on its own or mix it with olive oil and spread it on a cracker.”
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