It’s that time of year that’s really hectic. We’re running around to get things done for the holidays, attending parties, are stuck inside, and we’re often a bit worn out from all of this. As I’m sure you know, this can leave us very vulnerable to getting sick.
A couple of weeks ago I felt a tickle in my throat. I don’t know about you, but that’s usually the first sign that I’m about to come down with a cold. Determined not to get sick, I decided to bolster my immune system quickly!
These are my two main players:
I’ll typically buy whichever Echinacea tea is the least expensive at the grocery store. This one happens to be organic, which is a bonus! I drank one tea bag two times a day until my throat started to feel better (about a week). What’s in it? Let’s take a closer look.
Each tea bag contains:
Medicinal ingredients: Organic purple coneflower herb (Echinacea purpurea), organic purple coneflower root (6:1 extract), and organic narrow-leaf Echinacea herb (Echinacea angustifolia)
Non-medicinal ingredients: Organic West Indian lemongrass leaf (Cymbopogon citratrus), organic spearmint leaf (Mentha spicata).
There are some warnings attached to this tea, so please use your best judgement as to whether you should drink it. (Consult a health care practitioner before use if you have rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disorder or a progressive systemic disease such as tuberculosis, leucosis, collagenosis, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV infections. Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are taking immunosuppressants, or if symptoms persist. Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use if you have an allergy to Asteraceae/Compositae (the daisy family) plants.).
Studies have shown mixed results as to whether Echinacea actually works. There are many different preparations available, so it’s hard to have an even playing field. Perhaps it’s a placebo effect going on, but I do find that it works for me.
The flavor is quite mild, which is great because I always find my taste buds are a bit off when I’m under the weather (another way I know I’m getting sick: I’m not very interested in drinking my daily coffee!). You can taste a bit of mint and lemon, but it’s not overpowering.
What’s in Emergen-C?
|Total Carbohydrate||6 g||2%**|
|Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid, zinc ascorbate, chromium ascorbate)||1,000 mg||1,667%|
|Thiamin (as thiamine hydrochloride)||0.38 mg||25%|
|Riboflavin (as riboflavin 5’-phosphate sodium)||0.43 mg||25%|
|Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride)||10 mg||500%|
|Folic Acid||12.5 mcg||3%|
|Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin)||25 mcg||417%|
|Pantothenic Acid (as calcium pantothenate)||2.5 mg||25%|
|Calcium (as calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, calcium pantothenate)||50 mg||5%|
|Phosphorus (as potassium phosphate, calcium phosphate, sodium phosphate)||38 mg||4%|
|Magnesium (as magnesium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate)||60 mg||15%|
|Zinc (as zinc ascorbate)||2 mg||13%|
|Manganese (as manganese gluconate)||0.5 mg||25%|
|Chromium (as chromium ascorbate)||10 mcg||8%|
|Sodium (as sodium bicarbonate, sodium phosphate)||60 mg||3%|
|Potassium (as potassium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, potassium phosphate)||200 mg||6%|
|Alpha Lipoic Acid||1 mg||†|
|**Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.†Daily Value not established.|
Other Ingredients: Cane sugar, fructose, citric acid, raspberry juice powder and other fruit juice powder, natural raspberry flavors, tartaric acid, malic acid, tapioca maltodextrin, vegetable juice color, silica, stevia (leaf extract), caramel color, glycine, aspartic acid, and cysteine hydrochloride.
It’s a slightly fizzy concoction of essential nutrients, including 1,000 mg of vitamin C and other immune supporting antioxidants, zinc and manganese, seven B vitamins to enhance energy naturally, and electrolytes.
For those watching their calories and/or sugar intake, Emergen-C recently introduced a five calorie version of the drink.
There are a lot of great flavors to try out. They even have a recipe section on their website with great concoctions, such as the “Rock Your World Healthy Mocktail.”
If you haven’t had a chance to give this drink a try yet, they are offering free samples on their website!
As with Echinacea, there are mixed results on the efficacy of vitamin C in preventing and/or reducing the duration of colds. Again, even if it’s a placebo, it seems to work for me!
The third item I use is for side effect treatment, as opposed to stopping or shortening a cold like the previous two items. These Burt’s Bees throat drops feel great on my sore throat and I like that it’s a natural product (no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives). It’s made with 35% pure honey and this particular flavor has a touch of lemon.
In addition to using all of these items, I made sure to focus on rest. I took a couple of days off of exercising completely. The going wisdome for working out while sick is that if your symptoms are above your neck (stuffiness, sinus pressure/pain, sore throat), you can work out, and if they’re below the neck (chest congestion, achiness), you should rest. My body felt like it was asking for rest and I decided my body knew best. I also made sure to get to plenty of sleep.
Once I was feeling a little better two days later, I did some easy yoga. The day after I still felt okay, so I decided some light cardio would be appropriate. And when I was still feeling good the day after that, I felt confident that doing some moderate weight lifting/body weight exercises. Then I was back to my usual routine!
Has anyone else used these or other products with success to boost immunity and/or shorten the duration of a cold? Any other tips or tricks that you have for staying healthy during the cold and flu season, and year-round?
First image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net