No one is ever completely immune to a cold or flu. You could be the strongest, healthiest man or woman on earth—eventually, you’re going to get it. That’s just life. But like many miserable and crappy things that can happen to our health, you’re always a bit better off when you work to prevent them. Here, let’s zero-in on boosting the strength of the immune system.
Get more sleep, try to reduce stress, eat your vegetables, yada, yada, yada. You know all this. If you don’t know all this, start doing all of the aforementioned items. You’ll probably get sick less. Oh, and don’t walk around outside in shorts when it’s 27 degrees. (Why are there people that actually do this?) Not only do you look like a maniac, but you’re putting unnecessary strain on your immune system. We don’t need a study to back that up.
Speaking of cold weather and fighting the elements… If you’re the outdoor type and like surfing, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, or running in the winter, you know the weather can take a lot out of you. And you know you’re thinking, “please, don’t get me sick!” (If you’re the indoor, cold-weather-avoider, you don’t want to get sick either.) Working the following concoction into your routine could give you a boost. (Or, a still-helpful placebo effect.)
This was inspired by nearly two decades of experience surfing the winter months in New Jersey. Paddling around and scrapping for waves for hours on end is a workout and stress on the body alone. Throw freezing air temperatures, near-freezing water temperatures, and howling winds into the mix and it’s even more shock. After each session, not only can you eat like a ravenous animal, and sleep more (and more deeply) than ever before, you can sense that the body isn’t exactly feeling normal. This began as the antidote to Surf Shock but it can be for anyone pushing their limit outdoors.
*Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement routine.
THE SHOT or STRAIGHT DROPS
Immediately after taking an insanely long and as-hot-as-possible shower, grab your seltzer water or your drink of choice and put this down:
1mL of the extract which includes 500mg from the root and 500mg from the flower
Studies are mixed and there’s no proof it works, but there are still signs that something’s there. Other studies have reported “indications of antiviral activity.” OK, since it’s not going to hurt and could work, what’s the harm in trying?
When it comes to preventing a cold, the Mayo Clinic has this to say about echinacea: “Maybe, but not by much.” While a “maybe” isn’t a guarantee, it’s not a hard-no either so maybe it’s worth it.
Before you either do the drops in a drink or straight into your mouth, have this chaser ready to go.
Tea of choice
A 2018 review published in the journal Molecule, says studies on catechins in tea as a cold-defender are limited, but suggest the possibility of them being helpful. Apparently, gargling with tea catechins could lower the risk of influenza. Review authors say research is in the “developing stage” and that more is needed.
If you go with green tea, you get the most amount of antioxidants. Maybe black? You could also go with chamomile before bed to avoid the caffeine.
As you put the warming tea down, pop these two tablets.
Mayo Clinic says an analysis of studies show that zinc could knock a day or two off the life of a cold, especially when taken at the onset.
Edit note: I actually take ZMA (zinc, magnesium, and B6) for other purposes, but more on that in a future post.
At least 200mg.
This 2013 study of over 11,000 participants including marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers, supplemented with at least 200mg while doing exercises in “subarctic” conditions. Their risk of getting a cold was cut in half. And when there were colds reported, adults had an 8% reduction in symptoms, children had a 14% reduction.