How to Kick a Cold Naturally

Thank you to Ricola® Herb & Throat drops for sponsoring this post as part of an ongoing campaign with Socialstars. #swissherbs

It’s officially cold season, as I’m sure you guys have noticed. Whether you have a cold right now or not (hopefully not!), here are some tips for how to kick a cold naturally (and boost immunity while you’re at it)!

how to kick a cold naturally

Boost your immunity with food!
This applies whether you have a cold or not. Here are some of the best immunity-boosting foods:

Almond Butter Banana Breakfast Bars

  • Spinach. Packed with antioxidants! My favorite way to eat spinach is raw in a salad, thrown into smoothies (try my Banana Spinach Smoothie), on sandwiches in place of lettuce, and sautéed in a little garlic and olive oil. Speaking of garlic, it’s another great immunity boosting food – garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria with its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Eat up!
  • Sweet potatoes (and other orange foods like carrots and pumpkin!). These all have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is a form of vitamin A that is essential for keeping your skin strong and able to fight off bacteria and viruses. Try my Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Enchiladas, Sweet Potato Lentil Chili, Oatmeal Banana Pumpkin Cookies (healthy enough to eat for breakfast!) and Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.

enchiladas 10

Already sick? Here are some ways to feel better.

  • Tea. Green and black tea contain polyphenols and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help fight disease. In addition, an amino acid that’s responsible for an immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea, and decaf versions have it, too. To get more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while they brew. Added bonus: hot liquids feel great on sore throats. :)
  • Soup. There’s nothing better than soup when you are sick, huh? Especially if it’s homemade! My Homemade Minestrone Soup is always a winner whether I’m sick or not.

minestrone soup

  • Face Steam. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot, then remove from heat, add 2 teaspoons each of thyme and rosemary, and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and put your face over the pot with a towel draped over your head to hold in the heat. Breathe in the steam to loosen congestion, ease a sore throat, and, thanks to the herbs, help to kill bacteria and viruses in the lungs.
  • Hydrate and rest. These are a given, but putting them in here anyway. You’re losing fluids from the coughing/runny nose situation, so be sure to drink lots of water – and give your body the rest it needs to repair itself. Zara is really good at sleeping in case you guys need any tips…


  • Ricola Dual Action Honey Lemon Drops. For a little extra help and throat soothing, pick up some cough and cold drops. I always have a handful of these floating around in my various purses and travel bags just in case. I actually had a bad cold while speaking at Blog Brulee in September and these saved me – great combo of cough and sore throat relief all in one drop. The new honey lemon flavor will be showing up in stores this month!


What’s your best tip for boosting immunity, getting relief, and/or kicking a cold to the curb once you have it?

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  1. 1

    My go-to is to eat raw garlic! Most people think it is crazy and gross (which it can be), but I swear by it! Works every time!

  2. 3
    Sean McClintock says

    So about 3 years ago I went vegetarian. I stopped all soda and I only drink water, coffee, and (probably too much) beer! I also started exercising religiously. While I still have about 15 pounds to lose, there were two great benefits: I lost 45 pounds and I stopped getting sick. I haven’t been to the doctor in years for a cold, flu, or anything else. I can’t pinpoint one thing that made a difference. It was a combination of everything I would imagine. I love that you posted the “preventive” stuff first in this post! Eating right and taking care of yourself does so much to help keep away illness!

  3. 5

    I try to use as much homemade bone broth in my diet as I can, incorporating it into sauces, soups, stews, and just drinking it by itself if I’m getting sick. To make it, just use high quality chicken (or beef) bones, organic and grass fed if possible, and include the neck and gizzards. Put them into filtered water, add some vinegar and soak for a half hour (to help release the minerals). Then add veggies (onion, carrots, celery, etc.), bay leaves, pepper corns, and any other seasonings you want. Bring to a low boil, very slowly, and skim off the foam. Then simmer for a day or two in a crock pot (beef bones require about 48 hours, chicken bones about 24) until the bones break apart and the veggies have no taste left. That way you know that all the minerals from the bones and nutrients from the veggies have been released into the broth. Ideally, it will congeal in the fridge, which is from the collagen in the bones (helps get rid of cellulite!). If it doesn’t gel, you either had too much water-to-bone ratio, your bones weren’t of the best quality, or you killed off the collagen by over heating… but it is still healthy, none the less! Broth is an excellent way for your body to absorb those minerals and nutrients.

  4. 7

    Great post and great tips! I think people underestimate how important rest is as a preventative step for colds. EVERY TIME I have let myself get run down with trying to do too much on too little sleep, I ALWAYS get a cold. That’s why sometimes I feel like it’s just as important to get that extra sleep in the mornings (if you need it) as it is to get up and go do a workout.

  5. 9

    I loooove a good face steam when I’m sick! Never thought of adding rosemary or thyme to it though. Would dried herbs work, or should they be fresh?

  6. 11

    Whenever I let myself get really sleep deprived, I typically get a cold. I’v found the best way to feel better is to get a lot of rest. Occasionally, I take Zicam as soon as I feel the onset of a cold. It’s not a natural remedy, but it definitely helps me get over it faster.

  7. 12

    I love Zara modeling how to rest. ;)

  8. 14

    Helpful Post:))

  9. 15

    I swear by pure zinc tablets. I start sucking on them at the first twinge of a cold. I feel they have either stopped a cold in its tracks or helped to shorten a cold. They don’t taste great, so be sure not to chew them!

  10. 16

    I am sick now.. lol this is perfect! Thanks for the writeup

  11. 18

    Nothing works better than sleep! ;) I’m a fan of lemon tea with honey, and if sinus/allergies are an issue, a rinse with hot salty water works like no other (glass of hot but not too hot water, dissolve a bit of sea salt, and voila!), but do this when no one is watching because it’s effective but not pretty ;)

  12. 21
    Roadrunner says

    Great post, thanks!

  13. 22

    I love to do the face steam with some essential oils (eucalypt or mint). They make miracles. Boosting the immune system is the best way to stay away from colds. Thanks for sharing some of your tips.

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