I was just bragging to someone about how I haven't been sick in almost a year. I should know better than to do this because Murphy's Law prevailed once again. My son Duncan was sick on Tuesday which gave me the excuse to cuddle and kiss and hug him even more than usual (aka germ fest). He said he had a stomachache and a headache, and I was sure that he was just trying to phone it in that day. Since he loves school though, I figured I would just let him stay home and he must be feeling a bit off. He woke up the next morning feeling better so I did, in the back of my mind, think that he was just taking a free day. That was until I woke up this morning with the worst headache and stomachache I've had in a very long time. Yes, I had total mom guilt about doubting the little guy.
In the past, I would've started to drink tons of powders and take all sorts of pills to get myself better, but I decided to go with food this time. I haven't really been sick since I've stopped eating meat and now I couldn't go to my staple sick fare of chicken soup. Instead I had a pomegranate, blueberry, strawberry smoothie for breakfast. Just those three ingredients in a little water blended. For lunch all I can really manage was some toast and tea. For dinner I wanted to get in some healing foods so I went on a research binge to find the most healing foods in terms of bringing the immune system back up fast. There are so many conflicting ideas of what to do when you already have a cold. The obvious ones are what we all know already. Lots of liquids, teas, etc. Garlic was mentioned in many of the articles that I looked at, but scrap that one since I'm allergic to it. Most of the lists were not research based, more opinion. Mushrooms actually were cited quite often and there is some research to back this one up. I think I will stock up on these next time I am sick.
Most of the information was about how to avoid the common cold. Most of it was anecdotal. After searching for many hours, I came across an article by Dr Thomas Campbell about diet and the common cold. I also came across a video by Dr Greger examining the causes of immune system decline in the elderly. Guess what the conclusions were? Yep, a whole food plant based diet is the way to go to help boost your immune system. That, and getting enough sleep, limiting stress, not eating dairy (plant based takes care of this). These seem to be somewhat proven to help. There clearly is no magic way to avoid the common cold whether it be food, potions, powders or pills. Yes, we have all heard of taking vitamin C, echinacea and zinc. The studies seem to show if you are deficient in these nutrients your immune system suffers. The evidence for zinc is controversial and contradictory. Some studies have found that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of cold, perhaps by as much as 50%. However, many other studies have found no benefit from zinc for colds. Same goes for high doses of vitamin C. Most of the studies Moyad (who has done a lot of vitamin C studies) and his colleagues examined used 500 daily milligrams of vitamin C to achieve health results. That's much higher than the RDA of 75-90 milligrams a day for adults. So unless you can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (again, covered with WFPB diet), you may need to take a dietary supplement of vitamin C to gain all the benefits, Moyad says. Amazing that there are walls of these cold remedies in health food stores and nothing has been proven. Echinacea, same deal... may help, may not. Most studies show not.
If there was a wonder cure, none of us would ever have a cold. Puffs plus would be obsolete! I have some friends who take tons of supplements when they are sick, but honestly I've noticed they're not sick for any lesser period or less frequently than anyone else I know. I'm sure people are bound to roll their eyes at the idea of not popping 30 capsules of this or that when they are sick, as some feel about their supplements as they do about meat... couldn't live without it. All of that said, I have been taking a supplement called Wellness Formula for years as soon as I get sick, and I do seem to get better more quickly than everybody else. Given that there doesn't seem to be any detriment to taking it, I can't promise I will never take it again. I am OK with placebo effect if it makes me feel better when I have a cold. I, like everyone else HATE to be sick. Ain't got time for that!
Looking into this definitely convinced me that it is probably no coincidence that I haven't been sick for so long, and that my family is headed into cold and flu season armed and dangerous. Mushroom soup is the new chicken soup, baby!
I am Chrissy Roth, a mom, wife, Physical Therapist, Spin Instructor, and Wellness Coach with a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition. I've had a passion for health and nutrition my whole life and have always been drawn towards prevention. Why wait until your fat or sick or both to do something about your health? I'm looking to be the healthiest me NOW and am always sharing what I know. I love a challenge... 2 boys who think they are cavemen and a husband who wants to go veggie but hates beans, tofu, legumes, and most nuts.... I WILL make this happen cause that's how I roll (whole grain of course)...