Nov. 7. 2014
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do when or if you’re feeling a little under the weather. Here are my Top 10 Natural Cold & Flu remedies:

1. Turmeric.

Turmeric has been used as a healing spice for centuries in the Eastern culture for good reason. It’s incredibly rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown to help improve the immune system. Check out my favorite way to enjoy turmeric here, Turmeric Milk.

2. WHOLE foods!

If you’re still new or transitioning into the Nutrition Stripped whole food lifestyle, ease in simply by incorporating more foods from the earth and less from the food factories. Get started with the basics, Back to Basics Bundle to help you navigate!

3. Get those greens in!

Aim for at least 5-6 servings of vegetables a day, but I challenge you to make 2 or 3 of those servings coming from dark leafy greens. It may seem like a lot at first, so just challenge yourself to add in 1 extra serving a day (the Stripped Green Smoothie contains 3-4 servings of vegetables per glass!)

4. Drink water.

Drinking water can often go overlooked when the seasons become cooler, we’re sweating less naturally, we’re not as hot, and we’re not eating as many seasonally fresh juicy fruit (with high water content), yet our bodies require it just as much. Read more on why drinking water is so important and my Simply Infused Waters. 

5. Sleep at least 7-8 hours every night.

Sleeping is incredibly important for the body to rebuild, restore, and keep the immune system healthy. Use some of my tips from 15 Steps to Living Well and Whole for more on creating healthy sleeping habits. 

6. Hot tea, broth, or soup.

Hot teas like green tea, oolong tea, red (rooibos) teas contain the most antioxidants and are very low in caffeine. Homemade broths are the best to consume such as vegetable broths or stews. For soup recipe inspiration, visit Nutrition Stripped soups on the recipe page.

7. Exercise.

Get moving daily, even if it’s for a walk around your neighborhood or an awesome sweat session at the gym. Keeping your body moving will keep your immune system healthy amongst other things! Not to mention sweating through our skin, which is one of our largest detoxification organs, is beneficial.

8. Spices.

Foods that are nutrient dense and may help fight inflammation and bacteria include: honey, raw garlic, coconut oil, blueberries, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, green and oolong teas, cranberries, and chili peppers/cayenne.

9. Stress management.

Stress, if unmanaged, can eat us alive! Not literally, but our mental and emotional health plays a key role in our physical health and our immune system. Take the time to relax, recharge, and manage stress daily- it’s just as important as breathing. Check out a couple resources I love for stress management: headspace a guided meditation for those of you new to meditation or my personal favorite, this meditation pillow + 20 minutes in the morning before you start your day.

10. Eat light.

Don’t overload your digestive system with heavy foods that not only give you stomach issues, but take a very long time to digest. Overeating is the culprit for many of us feeling lethargic and worn out an hour or two after meals, be sure you’re not burdening your digestive system with eating too much, too fast, with too many combinations. A healthy digestive system and gut is a healthy immune system!

worthy mentions…

Garlic, onions, honey, coconut oil, oregano/oregano oil- all contain beneficial properties like anti-microbials, anti-fungals, and anti-bacterial. AND they taste good when added to food! It’s not odd to see me eating garlic at any chance I get while I’m sick- just don’t be around anyone when you do haha.

Bonus: If you are feeling sick, here are some of my favorite comforting yet nutrient dense recipes to make you feel good from the inside out and are easy on digestion but also great sources of vitamin C and zinc!

I hope this article helps you when (if) you find yourself feeling a little under the weather this season. I’d love if you would share this article with your friends and family to keep them healthy this season!

xo McKel

A variation of this article I wrote was originally for The Body Book community.

p.s. Check out this AMAZING illustration based magazine called Herself Magazine out of the UK. I’m blown away at Lulas talent. She asked me about a year ago to be featured in this magazine, check out my interview amongst other incredible women such as Sarah from My New Roots, Gabrielle Bernstein, Amanda creator ofMoon Juice in California, and Sophie Dahl just to name a few

self care