Teas for Helping Colds
When the weather starts to get colder, it's only natural that you start to feel a little more under the weather. That's why we're here with some of our favourite teas for helping colds! These are all great options when you need something to help you feel better and they can even be used in different ways depending on your needs. Whether it's just feeling a bit sluggish or if your throat is sore, these teas will do wonders for making you feel like yourself again!
But, before we start brewing and sipping tea, let us talk about colds.
What are colds and how do they affect your body
Colds are caused by viruses that attack your respiratory system; they leave you feeling congested and itchy. They can also cause a sore throat, nasal drip, coughing and sneezing. Sometimes, colds can lead to ear infections, pink eye and bronchitis too! This is why we want to share some of our favourite teas for helping colds that will provide lots of benefits when you need them the most!
What are the symptoms of a cold and how you might get one
Cold symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, cough and fever. You can catch a cold by coming into contact with germs in the air or on shared surfaces like doorknobs and keyboards (gross!). This is why it's important to wash your hands frequently at home and when you're out. Find more information about handwashing here.
When are they most contagious?
Colds are most contagious when you have symptoms but can be transmitted when you don't have any symptoms yet! That means that when someone around you has a cold, you may want to limit time spent near them so no one catches their germs. If possible stay away from them until they have been feeling better for a few days. You can check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on this topic here.
What to do:
If you feel like you may be coming down with a cold, there are some things that you can do to help your body combat the germs and heal faster!
1. Drink lots of fluids (water, tea, etc…)
We all know we're supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day but sometimes when we're sick it's hard to get in that amount or stay hydrated because water isn't tasty enough right? Well there is an easy fix for that - try adding freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey into your water, you'll be surprised how much better it tastes!
2. Soup by the Bowl
Soup is a great way to warm up and fill up, especially if you're not feeling well. It's also very easy on your digestive system which makes it an ideal food for those who are sick. Try this delicious vegetable soup recipe:
- 1 bunch of kale (washed, de-stemmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 butternut squash (cut into cubes then roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper for about half an hour or until golden brown. Roasting brings out more flavour than boiling.)
- 2 yellow onions (chopped)
- 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 6 cups of vegetable broth (or water, if you prefer a vegetarian version)
- Saute the onions and garlic in a large pot over low heat until the onions are soft and transparent. The longer this step takes, the more delicious your soup will be.
- Add the chopped kale and stir well to make sure all the leaves are coated with onion and garlic. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash cubes and stir well, then add the broth (or water). Cover and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the kale is very soft (you should be able to mash it against the side of your pot with tongs)
- Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese if desired, serve hot, and enjoy!
Studies suggest that regular exercise can help reduce the duration and severity of colds or other upper respiratory tract infections. However, you should consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen if you haven't been active in a while.
4. Rest and Hydrate
Staying well-rested and hydrated is key when fighting off a cold. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night—more if you can manage it! Drink plenty of water throughout the day, too—around eight glasses worth, give or take depending on how much time you spend outdoors (which can make you lose more fluids) as well as your general activity level. If caffeine is part of your morning ritual, don't skip out on it entirely during the cold season, as it can actually help open up your airways. Just don't overdo it, or you might experience the opposite effect!
5. Thermometer check
A fever that lasts for more than three days without treatment could be a sign of something much worse than just a cold—so if you're experiencing one, visit your doctor right away! A thermometer is an essential tool in fighting off any type of virus—remember to use it every day so you can monitor both symptom severity and effectiveness of your home remedies.
6. Start Taking Some Supplements
Supplements are great tools to have on hand during flu season. Probiotics, for instance, promote healthy gut flora (the "good" bacteria that line our guts) and help boost the immune system. Vitamin C is another go-to—it's an antioxidant that helps fight the free radicals produced by your body when you're sick, and vitamin C deficiency has even been linked to a weakened immune system.
7. Make sure to eat fruit that has a high fluid content
Staying hydrated is crucial for fighting off any type of infection, whether it's a cold or the flu. When you're sick, your body needs fluid to help flush out toxins and fight bacteria; if your body is dehydrated, it will be less capable of doing both.
Eat fruits like watermelon which has 92.2 percent water, cantaloupe (90.5 percent), oranges (88.7 percent) and grapefruit (83.1 percent). Or drink fresh fruit juices with high water content like apple juice (81.8 percent), cranberry juice (79 percent), prune juice (77.6) and pomegranate juice(74.3).
8. Eat yogurt to boost your immune system
Yogurt is a great source of protein and healthy gut bacteria that can help your body fight off infections–and it's delicious too! Yogurt also contains lactoferrin, an iron-binding compound that helps transport iron throughout the body for use by the cells in making hemoglobin to carry oxygen from place to place. You can also eat yogurt that has probiotics in it, which help maintain a healthy gut microbiome and may reduce the severity of infectious diarrhea on children under 5 years old.
It is also important to manage your stress levels, as stress "can suppress parts of the immune system and make you more susceptible to catching a cold." If you or someone you know is stressed out, watch cute cat videos on YouTube—or do whatever relaxes you!
9. Don't forget about zinc
While vitamin C gets the most attention for its cold-fighting benefits, don't underestimate zinc—it's an antioxidant like vitamin C and it plays a key role in warding off infection (the body absorbs more zinc during illness than when you're healthy). Zinc supplements are available over the counter, but you can also find it in food sources such as oysters, beef, eggs, and whole grains.
10. Always wash your hands
In order to stay healthy this winter, it's important to practice good hand hygiene by washing them with soap and warm water for 20 seconds every time after using the bathroom and before preparing and eating food. It helps kill germs and reduces the risk of getting sick during the cold months.
11. Get plenty of rest
The best way to avoid getting sick is to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, and trying stress-reduction techniques like yoga or meditation. These will help your body function at its best so you can fight off infections more easily if they come knocking.
Teas for helping colds:
A ton of different teas exist for helping colds. Many involve some combination of ginger, lemon, or honey. Some people believe that drinking hot water with salt in it also helps treat cold symptoms.
Here are some ingredients that you can use for your tea and their health benefits:
This is a great herb for building your immune system and getting you back to health. It's also good for treating respiratory issues like the common cold, flu and bronchitis. You can add it to any tea blend or drink it alone when you want to increase your immunity or fight off an illness.
Echinacea is another herb that will help with fighting off infections and boosting your immune system if you're feeling down. It's very effective in treating respiratory conditions like coughs, colds and sinus problems - just remember not to take this one while pregnant or breastfeeding!
This tea can give you some serious relief if you're feeling miserable because of your cold symptoms like a sore throat or stuffy nose. It is one of our go-to teas to make when we are feeling under the weather; plus it tastes great! We love sipping on some ginger tea during the day for its antioxidant properties that keep our immune system strong throughout the winter months. Plus, if you've got an upset stomach (which often comes along with colds), this tea will help settle your tummy too! For maximum benefits, drink two cups of ginger tea per.
And unlike other remedies, ginger tea has no unpleasant side effects!
Ginger is also said to be an immune stimulant, so it can promote your body's ability to fight off colds. Plus, it will open up the sinuses and clear out any congestion you're feeling. Ever had a post-nasal drip? Ginger tea might be just what you need for that too!
Many scientific studies have found that ginger supplementation may provide relief from nausea due to seasickness or stomach flu, morning sickness, chemotherapy, and pregnancy-induced morning sickness, in general, It might even help reduce post-operative nausea in some cases.
There are many ways to make ginger tea beyond simply adding freshly grated ginger root to hot water, however. By adding other ingredients such as lemon and honey, you can turn your tea into a potent cold remedy by promoting increased immunity and helping to hydrate the body.
As an added bonus, ginger is also great for digestion (the scientific name for ginger rhizome is Zingiber officinale.
Many people use peppermint tea for their symptoms of colds. Peppermint, like ginger and lemon, is also a stimulant of the immune system with antioxidant properties
Cinnamon may sound too good to be true, but this ancient spice has been linked to improved blood sugar levels in diabetics. It can also help with colds since the spice has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Lemon tea is another common cold remedy, but it is even simpler to make than ginger tea. Simply add the juice of one lemon (or two if you really want your tea super duper lemony) to hot water with a pinch of salt and allow the mixture to steep for three minutes before drinking. This increases immunity due to high levels of vitamin C in lemons, as well as helping to cure dehydration.
Honey, ginger, and lemon mix
Adding freshly grated ginger root and some honey can turn an ordinary cup of hot lemon water into a potent cold remedy by promoting increased immunity and helping hydrate the body.
While most Western medicines have not been shown to help cure colds, some natural remedies have been. Just be careful about adding lemon and lime juices, which can damage tooth enamel if consumed regularly.
Ways to avoid getting sick in the first place
This might sound redundant but this is of extreme importance: avoid getting the flu bug in the first place. Remember to:
- avoid people who are sick or have recently been sick
- get healthy sleep; get enough rest; get enough sunlight
- eat quality foods that provide your body with vitamins; engage in moderate exercise to boost immune system response.
- Be sure you are getting enough rest, be it by sleeping for proper periods of time or taking up yoga, which can double as a way to relax and also help with colds.
- Eat foods that are high in zinc. Zinc's effectiveness hasn't been clinically confirmed but many alternative medicine practitioners recommend it. Zinc supplements have not been shown to work, however. Some foods known to have high amounts of zinc include whole grains, shellfish, nuts, peas, beans, pork, beef liver.
- Do not smoke cigarettes ever because smoking will damage your body's immune system response considerably. This means don't breathe in second-hand smoke either!
- Exercise regularly. Exercise boosts the immune system so treat this like an important part
To stop cold before it begins, opt for warm drinks that will loosen mucus, like herbal teas and green tea, instead of caffeinated sodas. When you do catch a cold, avoid fatty/oily foods and stick to cooked veggies, toast with avocado (no butter/oil), boiled eggs and chicken noodle soup while drinking plenty of water.
The cold season is upon us, be ready!
The cold season is upon us, and many of you are probably wondering what teas can help with the symptoms. Hope you like our suggestions for how to make a cup of tea when you're not feeling well!