Nutrition and Healing

Fall is here… and you know what that means.

Cold season is coming FAST.

There’s a tickle in your throat… gunk in your chest… and the next thing you know, you’re hacking up a lung.

When you’ve got a cold-related cough, all you want to do is put a lid on that whooping and wheezing — ASAP!

So, you head to the cold remedy aisle at the drug store, only to be overwhelmed by the choices.

There are cough syrups in bright colors… lozenges to suck on… heck, you can even spray some medicines right down your throat!

But according to a new report, you’d be better off reaching into your pantry rather than the medicine cabinet — because honey is more likely to ease your cough than those sticky syrups and sprays.

The report, published by the American College of Chest Physicians, reviewed studies about the full gamut of over-the-counter (a.k.a. “OTC”) cough meds, from decongestants and cough suppressants to antihistamines and painkillers.

Study after study turned up the same result: These meds do zip, zilch, nada, and nothing to quiet that frog in your throat.

They don’t make your cough less severe OR shorten its course — at least, not better than a placebo.

But they may very well wallop you with distressing side effects, like drowsiness and life-threatening breathing problems.

Even more troubling, an ingredient in some cough medicines, called an “anticholinergic” agent, has been linked to dementia!

On the other hand, the report found that honey — which comes with absolutely no side effects — can make you cough less often AND make the hacking less brutal.

That’s a pretty sweet solution!

So, if and when a winter cold takes hold, turn to nature instead of drugs to quiet the quakes in your chest. Choose raw, organic honey, which hasn’t had all the enzymes cooked out of it by processing.

You can take it by the teaspoon or stir it into a soothing tea with hot water and lemon. As an added bonus, the hydration and steam from the hot water can help break up mucus in your chest, and the lemon will give you a hit of vitamin C, a natural immune booster.

And honey is also a natural antibacterial, which means it could also help protect you against secondary infections like pneumonia.

The report also found that zinc lozenges — if taken within 24 hours of your first cold symptoms — can reduce the duration of your illness as a whole, which means your cough will hang around for fewer days. Buy only those that contain the most effective form of zinc, zinc acetate.

Of course, the best way to beat a cough is not to get one in the first place. You can keep your defenses strong by getting plenty of rest and taking probiotics and vitamin D.

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