Knowledge Bank

Nutritional therapy and the common cold

We are now being recommended that, at the first sign of a sneeze, we should start swallowing zinc lozenges and tablets, and even zinc syrup. This is because scientists have discovered that zinc really does ease the common cold. But instead of rushing out to buy more products manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry, let’s pause to think: is there a better way?

Well yes, there probably is. Any nutritional therapist will tell you that taking zinc products can be harmful if you ingest too many. And zinc lozenges or tablets cannot be taken over a prolonged period of time, as an excess can lead to fatigue, a weak immune system, altered iron metabolism and copper deficiency.

However, if you are regularly eating a healthy diet of organically-grown foods which naturally contain zinc, you will also be receiving the necessary attendant nutrients to help the zinc to be better absorbed into the body. And in addition, eating zinc in this way, you are far less likely to overdose. Whoever heard of anyone OD-ing on pumpkin seeds?

Just scattering half a handful of pumpkin seeds on our breakfast muesli is just one of a number of more holistic ways to get our daily dose of zinc. Plus the humble pumpkin seed  has been dubbed an almost perfect food in that it contains pretty well most of the essential nutrients we need daily, including the all-important omega oils.

A nutritional therapist would also be likely to recommend other foods which are high in zinc. This includes just about kind of meat or fish — especially poultry, oysters and shellfish — while just 100 grams of lean pork pieces gives us between 25-30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for zinc.

And vegetarians needn’t miss out on zinc. Yogurt is the best dairy source, with milk and cheese running a close second. Dried fruits and nuts contain high amounts of zinc along with potatoes and beans.

In fact, if you are eating all that lot on a regular basis, you will probably build up your immune system to such an extent that you’ll be unlikely to catch a cold in the first place!

To learn more about Nutritional Therapy, go to The Therapy Book.