This weekend, I got hit with a pretty gnarly head cold. I’m sniffly, sneezy, sinus head achey…all that good stuff. So, I needed to stock up on my cold fighting goodies, and I figured I’d share them with you! Now, when you’re sick, it’s all about getting your immune system back up and filling your body with healthy things! Many of the below items are things I use on a daily basis, but some of them I add specifically when I’m feeling sick. In no specific order…
- Moisturizing Hand Lotion. Colds happen more frequently in dry, cool conditions, which also dries out our skin. Plus, if you’re washing your hands and sanitizing them a lot to prevent spreading (and catching) germs during cold and flu season, then your hands are probably going to be feeling a little dry. I like to keep moisturizing lotion on hand (get it…hand…?!) all the time, but especially during winter. (Pictured: Vivo Per Lei Dead Sea Hand & Body Lotion)
- Moisturizing Lip Balm (with SPF). No matter what lip color I’m wearing on a certain day, I always keep some clear, moisturizing, and SPF-filled lip balm handy, especially during winter when things dry up a bit. Sometimes, I’ll also dap a little on my nose if it gets too dry and chapped from all those tissues. (Pictured: Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing SPF 15 Lip Balm in Quenched — this is one of my favorite clear lip balms)
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is great for for many reason (digestion, weight loss, energy boost, skin clarity…the list goes on), and for that, I try to make sure I have a little bit mixed into my water on a daily basis (usually it’s the first thing I do when I get up…glass of water with a splash of vinegar). Sometimes, life gets in the way and I forget to have it, but I’m super diligent about drinking it when I’m feeling under the weather. It’s really great for helping to detox your body and get all the bad stuff out. (Pictured: Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)
- WATER. When you’re feeling sick, HYDRATE. This is SO important! And, when you’re not feeling sick, hydrate anyway. Staying well-hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body.
- Local Honey. Not only does honey make your tea taste great, but it can also help relieve cold symptoms! Local honey helps fight allergens that may be floating around in your city. Honey also works as a natural cough suppressant and helps fight bacteria.
- Sinus Rinse. One of the more frustrating things about having a cold is a runny nose and all that sinus pressure. Sinus rinses are a little weird at first, so they take some getting used to, and sometimes they’re not super comfortable, but it’s really good for you, so I highly recommend it! It helps flush out your nasal passages to clear out all that gunk in there and the saline solution helps to kill bacteria. I also gargle with warm salt water to kill germs and sooth sore throats. (Pictured: NeilMed Sinus Rinse)
- Hand Sanitizer. Fall/Winter is cold season, which means more germs are flying around, so carry some hand sanitizer with you to keep your hands extra clean. I love this EO Lavender spray sanitizer and keep it in my purse all the time. (Pictured: EO Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray)
- Cough Drops. Cough drops help soothe cold symptoms and provide relief to congestion. I like going with lemon mint and opting for sugar-free options, like these Ricola ones. (Pictured: Ricola Lemon Mint Sugar Free Cough Drops)
- Chicken Soup. Not only is chicken soup a yummy winter meal that makes you feel nice and cozy, but it also helps to soothe cold symptoms. Any hot liquids (soup, tea, etc.) help to loosen up mucus so you feel less congested and clogged up, but chicken soup also has anti-inflammatory properties too! (Pictured: Trader Joe’s Low-Sodium Chicken Broth)
- Tissues. Don’t get your snot everywhere. Duh. (These are basic ones I got at CVS because they’re cute and perfect for throwing in your purse, but the medicated ones are nice too!) (Similar to Pictured: Kleenex Pocket Packs)
- Tea. I am a BIG tea drinker. I have caffeinated tea every morning and some herbal tea nearly every night before bed. But when I’m sick, I especially like to have tea with some boosting health benefits too, like Yogi Green Tea Super Antioxidant or Yogi Echinacea Immune Support. I also really love Trader Joe’s Chamomile and Bedtime tea for, well, bedtime. Again, hot liquids help to sooth your throat, break up mucus, and speed up recovery time. (Pictured: Yogi Echinacea Immune Support Organic Tea, Yogi Green Tea Super-Antioxidant Organic Tea, Trader Joe’s Chamomile Tea, and Trader Joe’s Bedtime Tea.)
- Vitamin C & Multi-Vitamins. I take Vitamin C and a multi-vitamin every day (my favorites are these gummy ones from Trader Joe’s). Vitamin C can help you shave a day off the duration of your cold. It’s nearly impossible to overdo it with Vitamin C, so take your vitamins and eat Vitamin C rich foods! (Pictured: Trader Joe’s Gummy Vitamin C and Multi-Vitamins)
- Echinacea. Echinacea is a safe and relatively harmless supplement that can help boost your immune system. It’s not something I take regularly, but I do stock up on it and take it daily when I’m feeling sick. (Pictured: Nature Made Echinacea Pills)
- Tylenol Cold. Depending on the type of cold you might have (feverish, head congestion, coughing, etc.) you might want to get some pain relievers with some added bonuses in them. I try not to use medication unless I’m feeling really bad, but this cold I’m having right now is causing a lot of sinus pressure and giving me some bad head and ear aches, so I need a little something to take the edge off. (Pictured: Tylenol Cold – Head Congestion)
- Dayquil & Nyquil. Like I said above, I’m not big on medication unless I’m feeling really icky, but I will do a day or two of Dayquil and/or Nyquil when my cold is feeling really bad. If you’re going to be taking medication during the day, try to go for options that are non-drowsy so you can still be alert (unless you’re taking the day off and can sleep all day to recover!). (Pictured: Vicks Dayquil & Nyquil Cold & Flu Relief Liquicaps)
- Cold-Pressed Green Juice. Green juice can be like a shot in the arm — it’s full of rich nutrients that help boost your immune system and keep you healthy. I try to get a good green juice or smoothie in every few days all the time. When I’m sick, I also like to make sure I’m focusing my diet on foods that are super healthy. Your immune system is down, so feed it good stuff! Cold-pressed juice is important too because it gets more juice from the fruit and retains more nutrients than juices that are pasteurized normally. Trader Joe’s just came out with a line of cold-pressed juices that are tasty and more affordable then lots of the juices out there (they’re $5 each). Whenever you’re buying and drinking juice, look at the ingredients. Stick with juices that do not have any sugar added, but use whole ingredients. Also, even if the juices are made with real, whole foods, juices can be high in calories and (natural) sugar, so don’t over do it!
- Grapefruit Seed Extract. This supplement has tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients (called bioflavonoids) that help fight disease and eliminate free-radicals. It is a proven immune system booster and stimulator. It helps fight bacteria and viruses too. I usually mix it in with my daily apple cider vinegar and water, but I especially make sure to take it when I’m feeling under the weather. I usually add 10 drops to my water. (Pictured: Grapefruit Seed Extract Liquid Concentrate)
- Citrus Fruits. Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc.) are high in Vitamin C, the benefits of which we’ve already covered. These fruits are also high in fiber, which is good for your digestion. These foods are low in calories and sugar, which makes them great snacks for when you’re sick and not up for exercising as much as you might if you were super healthy. I love squeezing about half a lemon into my tea!
- Ginger. Fresh ginger helps with digestion, helps to clear our your microcirculatory channels, and helps to decrease congestion. I love throwing it into my smoothies or slicing some up and putting it in my tea. (Alternative to fresh ginger: Nature’s Way Ginger Root Supplement)
- Garlic. Garlic contains allicin, which has powerful healing capabilities, especially with colds and congestion. I love cooking with garlic, so it’s a pretty normal part of my diet, but when I’m feeling like my immune system is a little low, I’ll throw a clove into my smoothie. Yes, you can taste it, but if you fill your blender up with other yummy ingredients, that one clove shouldn’t taste too strong. (Alternative to fresh garlic: Nature’s Bounty Odorless Garlic Supplement)
The final thing you should do when you’re feeling sick or have a cold is to get REST! I tweaked my back last week during boxing, so I’ve been taking it easy the last couple days. When you have a cold, you should get plenty of rest — sleep mainly, but also consider taking it easy on your regular workouts. Oh, I also get a yearly flu shot to help keep me healthy during flu season.
Hope these are helpful and hope any of you feeling sick start feeling better asap!