7 Cold And Flu Hacks You Might Not Have Tried

Shutterstock © Woman with blonde/white hair huddled in a blanket sneezing into tissue

With lots of particularly nasty cold and flu going about, Bio-Kult have some cold and flu hacks that you might not have tried yet.

1. Elderberry Syrup

This 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, it is also rich in vitamin C.

If you don’t have elderberry syrup, other berry beverages could also be of benefit. 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. Take one to two teaspoons each morning as a preventative or when you notice the first signs of a cold or flu arising.

2. Fermented Foods

Did you know that approximately 70% 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.

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. Choose one that has multiple strains which may help inhibit more viruses and harmful microbes, such as Bio-Kult Everyday (RRP £10.48) which contains 14 different strains (www.bio-kult.co.uk).

Bio-Kult Everyday Gut 60 capsules box packaging with orange flower details

Provided by Bio-Kult.

3. Barefoot Walking

This 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), such as in barefoot walking, that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the body. 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. You may even be able to find a local guide in your area.

4. Eucalyptus Oil

A few drops on your pillow before going to sleep, added to a vaporiser or even a steamy bath could help to clear mucous and help you to breath easier.

5. Coconut oil

All that nose blowing can leave the delicate skin around the nose irritated and inflamed. Smooth on some coconut oil to soothe, it also acts as an anti-microbial helping to rebalance the skins natural microbiome.

Whilst it’s a good idea to wash hands more frequently when suffering with 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.

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.

6. Bone Broth

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.

7. Garlic

Garlic has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries. It 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. Crush up a clove and let it sit out for 15 minutes. This allows time for allicin, a potent anti-bacterial agent, to develop. You can eat it on its own or mix it with olive oil and spread on to a cracker.

Fore more cold and flu hacks, read how to stay healthy this winter from Dr. Ranj.

Jacqueline Munro

Jacqueline is the Digital Content Editor at "The People's Friend", looking after our website, social media channels and podcast.