How to Heal Colds and Flu


  • 1.

    The Nutritionist.

    Stay healthy by following a balanced diet high in vitamin C. It’s been shown to potentially decrease the severity and duration of a cold — if you have enough of the powerful antioxidant in your system before you get sick. In addition to citrus, good sources include broccoli, green and red peppers, and cantaloupe. Remember, too, to drink plenty of water and 100% fruit juices to stay hydrated.
    — Gail C. Rampersaud, RD, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

  • 2.

    The Supplement Pro.

    When you first feel a cold coming on, suck on zinc lozenges (zinc acetate or gluconate). If you’re around sick people, add some garlic to your diet, as well as medicinal shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms. They may stimulate the immune response. Tomatoes and other lycopene-rich foods may help, and chicken soup also helps loosen mucus.
    — Dwight Mckee, MD, Aptos, California

  • 3.

    The Meditation Guide.

    Transcendental meditation (TM) has been shown to improve immune function. In TM, your mind and body experience a state of deep relaxation. The level of rest is deeper than what you get during the deepest sleep. As a result, the body repairs itself over time in a very efficient way.
    — Stuart Rothenberg, MD, Director, Transcendental Meditation Program for South Florida, Boca Raton, Florida;

  • 4.

    The Acupuncture Expert.

    Acupuncture isn’t a substitute for conventional prevention and treatments (a flu shot, enough sleep, a healthy diet, exercise, stress management). But acupuncture can help you feel balanced. If you get sick, and if your doctor is comfortable with it, see an acupuncturist, who might use needles on your face, arms, chest and back. This may lessen the severity and duration of colds and flu.
    — James Dillard, MD, Medical Director, Rosenthal Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York

  • 5.

    Bottom Line

    Prevent colds by using alcohol-based hand gels like Purell or Avant after shaking hands or holding frequently touched objects. Colds and flu are usually spread by hand contact, not coughing and sneezing. At the same time, make your body less hospitable to these bugs with a robust intake of fruits and vegetables, and seven hours of sleep daily.

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