A Strong Immune System is the First Line of Defense to Prevent Colds
All of us are exposed to the various viruses that cause colds and flu's throughout the seasons. Although we are all exposed to these viruses, whether we come down with the cold or flu, and the degree to which we are impacted are determined by the strength of our immune system. Keeping your immune system strong through natural nutrition, regular vigorous exercise, strong nerve force and regular natural good sleep is the first line of defense against these viruses. See Natural Nutrtion and Portion Control. Also see Health Benefits of Aerobic Sports and Activities. Also see 13 Tips to Good Sleep Naturally.
Building a strong immune system is accretive. Meaning, a strong immune system today is the foundation for a stronger immune system tomorrow. People with strong immune systems can go years without catching a cold or flu and when they do, the symptoms and duration are much more mild compared with those whose immune system is less strong.
Function of Nose in Preventing and Treating Colds
If you start coming down with a cold, it is helpful to understand the physiology and function of the nose to better combat a cold. The primary functions of our nose is to (i) warm up the air to body temperature and (ii) filter and clean the air of particles. Warming up the outside air to our body temperature is a very important function of the nose. The nose accomplishes this task through the moisture generated by our nasal passages. This moisture warm the outside air to our body temperature. Because of these key nose functions, proper breathing is inhaling through our nose!
When we start to come down with a fever, the moisture in our nose initially begins to dry up. As of result of this drying of our nasal passages, our throat, trachia, bronchial passages and lungs overcompensate the dry nasal passages by producing moisture (flem) for the same purpose of warming up the inhaled air temperature. It's the increased flem in our throat, trachea, bronchial passages and lungs which causes us to cough. Up front, effective management of a dry nose is the best way to prevent colds, nasal congestions, sinus infections, coughs and lower respiratory tract infections from settling in.
The same nasal dryness caused by fever can also be caused by consuming too much salt which speeds up our system. Also, an overworked nervous system, which results in a higher resting heart rate and a faster breathing rhythm, can cause the nasal passages to dry up. See Resting Heart Rate as Key Health Indicator. Also see Learn How Our Breathing Rhythm Impacts Good Health - Learn Proper Breathing Technique
Tips to Preventing and Treating Colds Naturally
If you feel yourself coming down with a cold, here are some natural tips to treat and help the cold from settling in:
1. Stay Hydrated. Maintaining good hydration is important to help keep the nose moist. Drink plenty of fluids. While staying hydrated, keep in mind the importance of maintaining your electrolye balance. See List of Natural Sources of Electrolytes at Hydration and Electrolytes. Chicken soup is also a great way to stay hydrated and provide electrolytes!
2. Hot Showers. While taking a hot/warm shower, place your head under the shower and slowly inhale. You will be inhaling steam - water vaper - which will quickly moisten your nasal passages.
3. Carbohydrate. 'Feed a cold'! Healthy carbohydrates, which provide our body's fuel, from natural grains, whole breads and pasta are an excellent way to boost our metabolism - and therefore boosting our immune system to help ward off viruses. Carbohydrates also work well to keeping us internally warm and help prevent the body from becoming chilled.
3. Light Exercise. Get some like exercise, like a walk, will also gives you a boost to your metabolism and immune system. But, do not over exert yourself as that could set your recovery back. A walk in humid conditions is an added bonus to help moisten your nasal passages.
A recent study confirmed that sustained moderate-intensity exercise reduces cold and respiratory illness duration and severity.
4. Avoid Antihistamines. Antihistamines in cold and cough medicine 'work' as a form of speed causing your body, including the nasal passages, to dry up. This works initially for congested nasal passages. However, the nasal passages become congested as a later reaction to becoming too dry. Taking antihistamines creates a vicious cycle of causing the nasal passages to dry up which causes again the nasal passages to later become congested because they were too dry. This vicious cycle is hard on the nasal passages and can lead to sinus infections.
5. Avoid Caffeine, Salty, Spicy Foods and Refined Sugars. Caffeine (coffee, chocolate) is a physcoactive stimulant drug which dehydrates the body. As it is important in treating a cold to stay hydrated, caffeine should be avoided. To learn more about Caffeine, See Caffeine and Athletic Performance. As salty and spicy foods also work to speed up our body's system causing dehydration, it is best to not consume salty or spicy foods in great quantities while trying to prevent and treat colds. Refined sugars also act as a form of speed that not only provide nutritionless - empty calories, but are dehydrating.
6. Stay Warm. Keeping warm, and especially keeping the body from becoming chilled, are important to fend off colds. A chilled body core lowers the immune system and prevents its ability to fight off colds.
7. Vitamin C and Zinc. It's been proven Vitamin C and Zinc help boost the immunce system and help fight off colds. Zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people. When Zinc is in the diet for at least five months, it reduces cold incidence. See Natural Sources of Zinc
Here's a list of natural foods sources of Vitamin C:
Natural food sources of Zinc includes: eggs, oysters, garlic, beef, chicken, and dairy products.
8. Rest. Rest and good sleep will help build your immune system. Extra rest when you begin to feel under the weather will help strengthen the immune system to help fight off the cold.
9. Centralized Air of Modern Office Buildings/Air Travel. Centralized air systems of modern office building circulate very dry air, as do jet airplanes. Hydrate well before and during office work or jet air travel.
10. Quit Smoking! If you are a smoker, you will have fewer and less severe colds once you quit! See How to Quit Smoking.<-- back to top
Articles on Colds Treatment, Prevention
Zinc for the Common Cold, Singh M; Das RR Department of Pediatrics, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Medscape
Meditation or Exercise for Preventing Acute Respiratory Infection, Bruce Barrett, MD, PhD, Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Annals of Family Medicine