How to Effectively Battle the Cold and Flu (which doesn't include Vitamin C)

This year, my Thanksgiving weekend didn't go as planned. I was hoping for leisurely bike rides, day hike, turkey feast and spending quality time with friends. Instead, it was ginger-honey teas, constant feeling of drowsiness, cold buster IV, multiple boxes of Kleenex and binge watching Netflix. 

I haven't gotten this sick is so long, I forgot what it felt like. In the past, I managed to cut down my recovery time to 2 days, this time around, I'm on day 5.

Like any other cool Fall season, there's a virus going around and it may take you down. Are you prepared? Although, Vitamin C may not be the cure for the common cold it does protect against immune system deficiencies and can cut down the length of your cold. Vitamin C and zinc are commonly prescribed when fighting a cold, but what else can you do? You can let your body do it's thing but wouldn't it be better to equip it with "extra powers" to get back to your best self quicker? 

How to effectively battle the common cold and flu

Wet Sock Treatment 

The wet sock treatment is a hydrotherapy technique that helps relieve congestion, headaches and cough, and reduces fever. I've done it many times with great success. Yes, it's strange and you might even think "How can this be comfortable or effective when you're wearing cold and wet socks?" But hear me out on this one. 

"After putting on the socks, you'll climb into bed and drift off to sleep. While dreaming sweet dreams, your feet will be doing all the work. The vessels in your feet will constrict as your feet cool down, which sends all the good nutrients into your organs and tissues. These nutrients are needed to fight off infections and stimulate healing. Then your feet will start to warm up again, and your vessels will dilate to release the heat. This is when the junk in your tissues is dumped into your blood stream so that your body can dispose of it. The alternating of hot and cold creates a pumping mechanism that stimulates your circulation and lymphatics. The results are an active immune system and decreased congestion. By the morning, your socks will be completely dry." - Dr. Katie Corazzo

To get started, here's what you'll need: 

  • 1 pair of cotton socks (at least 90% cotton)
  • 1 pair of wool socks (at least 90% wool)
  • cold water
  • hot water

Wet sock treatment instructions:

  1. Before bed, put your feet under hot running water. The water should be as hot as you can handle it without burning your skin.
  2. Soak your cotton socks in cold water and wring them out. 
  3. Hop into bed and immediately put your cotton socks on your hot feet. 
  4. Put on your pair of wool socks over cotton socks.
  5. Cover well and sleep all night with socks on. Don't remove socks until they're dry.

Ginger and Honey Paste

Photo credit: Calum Lewis ,

Photo credit: Calum Lewis ,

Ginger and honey are my go to remedies for keeping me warm, suppressing a cough or soothing a sore throat. Ginger is a wildly used spice that has a warming effect and anti-inflammatory properties. The warming effect is beneficial when you have a cold or flu because it helps you sweat out toxins. Ginger is also helpful in settling upset stomachs, nausea, vomiting and cold sweats.

"The anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger root will help to relieve a sore throat quickly, and they also kill rhinoviruses, which cause colds in the first place." - Jacob Teitelbaum MD

Honey soothes a sore throat and is effective as a natural cough suppressant. 

I often mix honey, ginger and lemon with hot water, but this time around I tried a new form. I mixed 1 tsp of ground ginger with 1 tsp of honey to create a paste. I ate this with a spoon feeling an instant relief on my sore throat. 

Bone Broth

The slow cooking process of broth draws all the nutrients out of the bones which results in a rich and delicious flavour with immune boosting minerals. 

When we're sick with a cold or flu, our bodies are working hard to fight off the infection. It is suggested to minimize 'the level of stress and incorporate nutrient rich foods, plenty of rest and lots of liquids to stay hydrated.  "Bone broth supports the immune system by giving it a big dose of immune boosting minerals without the burden of a stressful digestive process." - Undivided Food Co 

If you're looking for pre-made bone broth, my suggestion would be Pure Bone Broth, a Vancouver-based company.

Garlic Toast

Photo credit: asthetik,

Photo credit: asthetik,

Garlic is rich in antioxidants, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Garlic can boost the immune system and reduce the occurrence and severity of cold symptoms, as well as the recovery period. It helps reduce inflammation which can also help with congestion. 

You're welcome to eat raw garlic but I've done it and it's not very pleasant. Growing up my mom would often make toast with butter and minced garlic. I wasn't a huge fan when I was little, but now I know and am much more aware of benefits. 

Unfortunately, this time around I ran out of garlic and used garlic powder. Delicious!