Delicious Living Blog

When the common cold strikes

Cold-begone product picks to treat the sniffles.


How frustrating. I had just finished writing an in-depth research feature on maintaining a healthy immune system and I was positive I would not get sick. I was consistently eating a polyphenol-rich diet of fruits, vegetables and green tea, regulating stress with yoga and daily runs, and attempting to obtain at least seven hours of sleep per night. But after a mere two nights of substandard shut-eye and a rather strenuous hike on Saturday, I woke up Sunday with a horrible feeling of lethargy, headache, sore throat and sniffles. What gives?

I vowed to combat this cold right from the beginning. Apart from inciting my housemates to pity me by incessantly moaning and groaning (which peculiarly did make me feel better) I took a trip to my neighborhood natural foods store. Armed with my recently gleaned immunity knowledge, I bought an arsenal of cold-fighting products. I offer you my top picks.

Probiotics

While writing my article, I was surprised by the strong correlation between probiotics and a healthy immune system. Numerous studies show that probiotics foster the growth of good bacteria, thereby inhibiting harmful bacteria the immune system would otherwise have to handle. This makes sense considering the digestive system is one of the first lines of defense against infection.

Try: Classic Miso Soup with Seaweed and Tofu, Lifeway Low Fat Kefir Plain, GT Dave’s Organic Raw Kombucha

Zinc

Zinc is believed to significantly reduce the duration of cold symptoms, especially when dissolved in the mouth rather than swallowed in capsule form. In a study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finnish researchers found that zinc lozenges were useful in shortening the duration of common cold symptoms by up to 40 percent.

Try: Natures Way Natural Berry Zinc Lozenges

Vitamins and minerals

In the past I have been skeptical of supplements. How could it be that the natural, plant-based foods I was diligently eating did not provide the nutrients I needed? Then Emergen-C came into my life. A small packet chock-full of vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, the supplement is easily dissolvable in water, and tastes pretty decent. I'll drink lots of juice as well for an extra boost of vitamins and minerals.

Try: Emergen-C Health and Energy Booster Lemon Lime, R.W. Knudsen Family Just Black Cherry Juice

And as any doctor (or mom) will tell you: drink lots of fluids, take lots of catnaps, and wash your hands!

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 13, 2012

Let me make something very clear, since no one seems to get it (and I've said this before). The cure to the common cold and the flu and most respiratory ailments is an open window. I hardly ever get sick and the reason I don't get sick is because I keep my house ventilated.
The chemistry is very simple. It's practically chemistry 101. Think of what happens when you insulate a container of water. The water doesn't evaporate away, instead, it stays in the container. When you remove the insulation, ie: take off the cover, the water evaporates.

Now your body can be modeled like a container of water. The virus in your body is like water and the virus in your environment/house/the air you breathe is like water vapor. What happens when you insulate yourself? The gas/virus takes the form and volume of your house. The (net) viral diffusion rate into the air that you breathe is much lower because the air that you're breathing contains viruses as well. Now, you open the window and diffusion forces will powerfully and quickly force the viruses outside of your house. Diffusion forces are powerful and quick. So now you constantly breathe in clean air with no viruses. The powerful and rapid diffusion forces will quickly force the virus outside of your body. and the more viruses you have in your body relative to outside your body, the greater the pressure gradient of viruses in your body to viruses in the clean air that you're breathing in and out, the more powerfully and quickly the virus will be forced outside of your body through diffusion forces. Hence the equilibrium point of virus production vs virus expulsion results in a much lower number of viruses in your body. Now to get sick you must have a virus that multiplies very fast and even then you will be much less sick and will get over it much quicker since your immune system doesn't have to work so hard to overcome its apparent viral production rate (that is, the apparent viral production rate to your body is now the viral production rate minus the viral expulsion rate due to diffusion which is now much greater, so the net viral production rate is the viral production rate minus the viral expulsion rate due to diffusion minus the viral destruction rate due to your immune system. As your immune system builds up, that last figure increases. In the meantime, with sufficient ventilation, the net viral production rate will hit an upper limit due to the fact that diffusion forces increase as viral concentration rates increase. The more ventilation you expose yourself to, ie: go outside, the more powerful the diffusion forces and the more rapid the viral diffusion rates and so this equilibrium point gets lowered. Your immune system's necessary viral destruction rate to create a net viral reduction rate is now much less).

Plus, half the time you are sick, it's actually due to toxins that your body releases (and toxins that you release into the environment via glass cleaner, air sprays, etc... Remember, when you clean your glass with Windex and you wipe all of the Windex with a napkin and throw away the napkin in the trash can in your house, what happens to all of the Windex that was on the Napkin as the napkin dries up in the trash can? All of it enters your environment and you breathe it. That's bad for you. Same thing applies to just about anything including surface cleaners. As the surface dries all of that stuff enters your environment and you breath it, no different than had you simply sprayed it in the air directly). For example, when you take your socks off after wearing your socks and shoes all day, your feet stink. That's because your skin is constantly releasing toxins. Yes, that bad smell is toxins, your body is telling you that it stinks because it's bad for you. Notice how your exposed forearms don't smell as bad? Because your arms were releasing those toxins the whole day, where? Into the air that you breathe. In fact, if there is little resistance to the release of toxins (ie: via clothes, like the clothes on your feet) the exposed parts of your body are releasing toxins at a faster rate. Those toxins are bad for you and need to be ventilated.

If you don't believe that ventilation can cure your common cold, just try it one day. Open a few windows and keep them open for a few hours. It works very well.

Also, try this experiment. Cover yourself, your entire body, completely in a blanket so that there are few leaks. After about 20 minutes (or less) you'll notice that you start to get ... sick. Your symptoms mimic ... the common cold very closely. You need to escape and blow your nose. So what makes you think it's healthy to then cover your house with insulation and have your family and yourself live in it for hours at a time with no ventilation? It's not and the results are you get sick.

"According to the EPA, air pollution indoors is often two to five times worse than it is outside."

http://www.naturalnews.com/028018_indoor_air_pollution.html

Well, duh, indoor air pollution consists of outdoor air pollution (because your indoor air comes from outside) plus all the toxins you release into the air from your body and all the junk you put into the air (ie: air fresheners and window cleaner and surface cleaners, whenever you cook something the gases from the food or if something gets burnt, etc...). Open some windows and diffusion forces will rapidly clear the air.

Also, it's a good idea not to put a lot of biowaste (ie: food that rots over time) in your trashcan and leave it sitting in your house for a long time. That stuff produces toxins and disease that also gets in the air you breathe and that's also unhealthy.

Another thing ventilation does is it reduces the chances of those around you getting sick from your sickness since it reduces their viral exposure rate (for reasons mentioned above).

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