What are common colds and flu?
The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. Most of the time, it is acute in nature. More than 200 viruses have been detected which can cause the common cold, however rhinoviruses cause most cases. Symptoms of the common cold include mild fevers, nasal discharge, runny nose, stuffy nose, congestion, cough, and sore throat. It typically lasts for 1 to 2 days in mild cases, 7 to 10 days in moderate cold cases and for up to 3 weeks in severe cases.
On the other hand, flu occurs due to influenza viruses. This is also a contagious and respiratory illness. Flu symptoms are more severe than symptoms of the common cold. These include body or muscle aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), feeling feverish/chills along with other symptoms of common cold.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to identify the difference between common cold and flu as their symptoms do overlap with each other. Therefore, they are misunderstood and their cures are often lumped together.
Here in this article, we have listed a few substances which can act as supplements to prevent common cold and flu and in case if you have already been caught with flu/cold, they might help you in getting the relief within few hours/days depending upon the severity of the disease. Before heading towards the supplements, let’s first understand this term.
What are supplements?
Supplement is any product/food/medicine taken in natural or artificial form, which fulfils nutritional demand of your body. Most of the time, the food we eat on a daily basis is not a balanced food which means it may lack one or more nutrients which our body needs to stay fit, healthy and away from diseases. These supplements can contain any of the following- vitamins; amino acids; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; and other substances.
The supplements which your body requires to escape cold and flu are as following:
It is a nutrient that is significant for proper senses of taste and smell. It is present throughout our body. It is helpful for the immune system as it fights and kills the invading bacteria and viruses. It also helps in producing more proteins and DNA in our body.
Though required in a small quantity it is important for our body. On an average, an adult (man/ woman) requires 8-11 mg of zinc in a day.
You can get zinc through natural or artificial ways. There are many foods like beans, oysters, red meat, nuts, whole grains, dairy products etc which provide zinc. Apart from this, there are many over the counter products which offer alternatives to the natural diets such as lozenges.
2 Vitamin C:
It is also known as ascorbic acid. It is a water-soluble vitamin which means it dissolves in the water and gets removed from the body. So, it is necessary to add Vitamin C in our diet daily as our body cannot synthesise it on its own.
It is an important element in protein metabolism; an essential component of connective tissues and plays a vital role in wound healing. It limits the damaging effects of the free radicals through its anti-oxidative property. It boosts the immune system. Therefore, it strengthens the body against harmful germs attacking our body.
It can be found in oranges, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, spinach, green peas etc. It can also be taken in the form of over-the-counter products.
3 Vitamin D:
Vitamin D protects our body in the fight against acute respiratory infections including colds and flu. Fortified foods with Vitamin D are also good alternatives against flu and colds. It not only protects against respiratory infections, but also against the possible asthma attacks which are related to respiratory viruses.
Vitamin D helps in absorption of Calcium, improving the immunity of the body, protecting bones, muscles and heart. It can be found in foods naturally and can also be produced by our body when it is exposed to the sunlight.
On a daily basis, an adult needs 10-20 micrograms of Vitamin D on an average. But some studies suggest that 25-100 micrograms of Vitamin D is required to maintain optimal blood levels.
Many foods like -oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel; red meat; egg yolks; fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals etc are good sources of Vitamin D.
Garlic acts as a herbal supplement for the patients having flu or colds.
It contains antibacterial and anti-viral properties. It not only kills the invading virus and bacteria inside the body, but also strengthens the immunity system of the body. Therefore, making it strong to fight off the outsider bacteria and viruses.
It contains many vitamins and minerals like- Vitamin B6, Manganese, Selenium, Fiber, Vitamin C, good amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1.
Studies have shown that garlic is found to be useful in reducing the severity of colds and flu and also in curing it.
Please note- patients who are on blood thinners should be careful with the intake of garlic and advised to consult their doctors before taking it.
It is the most common herbal supplement related to the prevention and treatment of colds and flu. It is rich in many anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and stress relieving substances.
It is also known as purple coneflower. Native Americans have used it for centuries to treat various diseases. It is grown mostly in North America.
Today, it’s best well- known as an over-the-counter remedy for the common cold or flu. However, it’s also used to treat inflammation, treat pain, migraines and other health issues.
With no doubt, the above mentioned supplements can be taken during the colds and flu as precautionary measures. However, it is recommended to consult a well-known dietician or doctor before taking them as sometimes people are allergic to many compounds which are found in these supplements.
To consult an expert, you can also visit LivHeal as it provides you the facility of getting all the dietitians and experts at one platform. I hope this blog will help you in clearing your doubts and it must have been knowledgeable for you.