Now that cold and flu season is in full swing, you might be stocking your bathroom cabinets with natural remedies and getting a little overwhelmed with all of the suggestions out there. Do you need lemon tea and honey, Vitamin C, or echinacea—or is there something better? As it turns out, zinc is probably the best way to kick the common cold.
Why does zinc do such a good job at fighting colds? First of all, a zinc deficiency can stop your immune system from functioning at its best, so it’s important to get plenty of zinc in your diet if you want to prevent mild illnesses in the first place. Women need at least 8 milligrams per day, while men need 11 milligrams per day. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
What’s the best way to get zinc on your plate before you even catch a cold? Whole grains, shellfish, legumes, red meat, dark chocolate, and eggs all have plenty of zinc. Dairy also contains zinc, but it can also make your sinuses feel a bit stuffy, so it might not be the best way to get this mineral.
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If you find that you’re having trouble getting enough zinc through food, you could always try a supplement. It is safe to take up to 30 milligrams of zinc per day long term. It’s best to take it with a big meal like dinner—some people report that taking zinc on an empty stomach makes them nauseous.
When a cold strikes, how much zinc should you take? If you’re already feeling some cold or flu symptoms, you’ll want to get your hands on some zinc lozenges. Studies show that it is best to start taking them within the first 24 hours after the symptoms appear. Take three to four lozenges each day within about three hours of each other for a total of about 75 milligrams per day, and continue this routine for three to five days. This is the dosage that has been shown to shorten colds by keeping cold viruses from multiplying in your nose and throat. Don’t use a throat spray—it can affect your sense of smell!
Do you prefer to use natural remedies during cold and flu season? Have you ever kicked a cold using zinc before? Let us know in the comments!