Planting for the Future

By Judy Baehr

Got a Cold?


Masthead-PlantingNobody has colds these days. Everyone has flu instead. It’s more fashionable. The fact is, if you admit you have a cold, you get shunned because (a) nobody wants your cold; (b) it is your fault you got the cold because healthy people do not get colds; and (c) no one wants to hear about your nasty symptoms, all of which are boring and predictable. But if you have the flu, you can (at least by phone and email) brag about your symptoms and discuss whether you might have something exotic and dangerous and whether it’s safe for people to bring over chicken soup and gifts.

Thus, when I recently detected a tickle in my throat, I called Doc McGee, the local naturopathic doctor, to ask what to do for my incipient case of a dreadful flu. After noting that my symptoms sounded like a cold rather than the flu (he’s not easy to fool), his recommendation for a cold was large doses of Vitamin C and Echinacea, which increase one’s own natural immune system; and zinc lozenges (not available here; I get mine in the U.S.). These are for a cold; for flu, Doc says to take 5,000 units of Vitamin D per day and no Echinacea.

After following this advice, I asked myself, what else can I do?

Lots of liquids? Yes, research shows sipping very hot water or tea dissolves the cold mucous. Drinking lots of plain water cleanses the system. Note that while your immune system is fighting the cold germs, it’s a good idea to avoid heavy foods, such as fried chicken, steak and sausage, so your body can focus on getting rid of the cold, not on digestion and attendant processes.

Chicken soup? Yes, chicken soup not only provides hot salty water to break up the cold mucous, it also contains a mucus-thinning amino acid called cysteine, and some research shows that chicken soup helps control congestion-causing white cells, called neutrophils.

Ice cream? Sorry, milk products have an enzyme that particularly encourages mucous buildup.

Physical exercise? Maybe. The body works best when exercised, and sweating gets rid of impurities.

Sex and chocolate? Well… at least now you can say you saw it in the Ojo.

Fruits and vegetables? YES, eating more organic Great Greens and other locally grown vegetables from ACÁ will help lots. There is nothing better to build up your system than fresh organic vegetables. You can buy them locally at SuperLake or from the refrigerator on the patio at the Lake Chapala Society, or better still, get some sunshine along with the veggies and enjoy an outing to Gg’s Organic Market located in Jaltepec at the ACÁ Eco Training Center (M-F 9-5, Sat 9-1) .

If you’re healthy and take care of yourself, the worst symptoms of a cold disappear in 3 to 5 days, but the cold does not entirely go away for 2 weeks. If mucous is dripping, you’re infectious, so stay away from me!


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