While it's certainly not life-threatening or anything, I don't know if there is anything more irritating—and sometimes inconvenient—than catching a cold. Yet, try as we might, there's a chance that we'll all come down with one before the year is out. Why is that? The long short of it is, a cold is a virus; one that comes in approximately 200 different varieties. By the way, contrary to what grandma might've said, no, you can't get one from going outside while your head is wet. You actually catch a cold from someone who already has one, either by being in direct contact with them or from touching a surface that they have.
As you probably already know, there isn't a cure for a cold. However, there are some things you can do to speed up the healing process. Staying hydrated will loosen up the congestion. Resting will build up your immune system. Turning on a humidifier will help to remove allergens out of the air. Oh, and there is some truth to feeding a cold as well. Drinking citrus juices will provide you with antioxidants and electrolytes that you might have lost. Also, if you enjoy comfort foods when you're sick (speaking of, have you ever checked out YouTube's Stove Top Kisses before? The host is hil-ar-ious and the recipes are the complete and total bomb!), just make sure that they are high in beta-carotene (like carrots and collards), Vitamin C (like papayas and peppers), Vitamin E (like tangerines and tomatoes) and bioflavonoids like lemons and limes—all of which can be depleted when you're feeling under the weather.
There's one more thing too. Make sure to avoid the following eight foods at all costs. Not just because they can "empower your cold", but because there is solid evidence that they each play a role in making cold viruses last longer than they should (which should be no more than 10 days; if your cold is lingering longer, make an appointment to see your physician as soon as possible). Are you ready to read about what you should keep off of your plate until your cold subsides?
What Not To Eat When You Have A Cold
Dairy is milk. Dairy is cheese. Dairy is cream, butter, yogurt and anything else that is produced from a mammal's milk. If you're anything like me and you thoroughly enjoy most, if not all, of the things on this list, I can totally see why you might struggle with giving dairy up (or, at the very least, consuming these foods less than you currently do). But here's the thing to also keep in mind about it—because our bodies aren't really designed to consume another mammal's milk, if we eat (or drink) a lot of it, it can cause all sorts of health issues. For one thing, dairy is a huge source of saturated fat which can ultimately lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. There are even studies that point to the fact that dairy can up your risk for getting lung, breast and ovarian cancer. Also, if clear skin is your goal, less dairy is best. Why? Well, two proteins found in milk are whey and casein. Whenever we take them into our system, they have a tendency to trigger the production of a hormone called IGF-1; that can lead to breakouts.
As far as consuming dairy when you're sick goes, while you might've heard that it can produce more mucus, the actual scientific data suggests that the more accurate problem is dairy can lead to more coughing, if anything. Plus, it can make the mucus that you already have thicker; that can result in allergens remaining in your system longer which can ultimately result in your cold sticking around for a few more days than it actually should.
If anything is a bit of a wild card on this list, it would have to be coffee. I say that because there are about as many "pros" as there are "cons" when it comes to drinking it. On the beneficial side, coffee can reduce post-workout muscle discomfort, lower the risk of depression, cancer and even type 2 diabetes. Plus, it's loaded with fiber and can even protect against cirrhosis of the liver. Some reasons why you should consume java in moderation is it has the ability to increase your stress hormone and homocysteine levels (which can ultimately lead to heart disease), deplete your system of the calcium, magnesium and potassium that your body needs, plus it can be addictive.
If you love coffee so much that you can't imagine ever going without it, try and at least push your cup aside while you're getting over a cold. Because coffee/caffeine is a diuretic, drinking it can prevent your body from getting the fluids that you need in order to fully heal.
3.Fake Meat (Kinda)
I grew up being a Seventh-Day Adventist. Anyone who is (or knows someone who is) knows that MorningStar Farms is a staple in that denomination's diet. If you're unfamiliar with MorningStar, it's basically one of the longest-running "fake meat" brands there is around. While I know that a lot of folks are out here consuming "the un-meat" like there's no tomorrow, it's important to keep in mind that 1) a lot of that stuff contains quite a bit of soy, sodium and preservatives (which isn't a good thing) and 2) some of those foods also are loaded with gluten. Gluten is basically a protein that is found in grains (especially wheat) that's considered by a lot of health professionals to be "irrelevant" because it doesn't really provide any nutrients to your body. On the flip side, what it can do is elevate inflammation in your body (especially if you've got celiac disease).
Since a symptom of having a cold is inflammation in your system, which can result in it being more difficult for mucus to pass through your body, you might want to save that Impossible Burger until after you get to feeling better. Or, at the very least, opt for a gluten-free one instead. Otherwise, you could be "feeding your cold". Just not in a good way.
I'm a bit of a bread girl, so I can get why this might be really hard to give up or why you may want to treat it as a comfort food while you're battling a cold. While a sandwich, a slice of pizza or some French toast on occasion isn't necessarily a bad thing, the rule to apply here is all things must be applied in moderation. No matter how much you might enjoy bread, the reality is that it's got a ton of carbs in it, it lacks micronutrients and, many brands contain gluten. Since carbs pack on pounds and raise blood sugar levels, that should be reason enough to not want to go overboard on bread which includes pasta, fortified cereals, tortillas and even—wait for it—grits.
Since bread has gluten in it and we've already talked about what it can do, that's why you should avoid eating biscuits or burritos until your cold is over. Even then, make sure that you at least go the whole-grain route and you limit your portions as much as possible. Your immunity will thank you for it if you do.
Have you ever noticed that a lobster looks a lot like a cockroach? Yeah, a lot of seafood is considered to be bottom-feeders of the ocean. What this means is it's their job is to clean up filth in the water. If that's not enough of a reason to reconsider eating a lot of seafood, how about the fact that it's high in cholesterol and mercury; it is a common allergen; and, when foods like scallops, clams and oysters are not thoroughly cooked, the harmful bacteria that you can take into your system can be totally off the charts.
If you just read all of that and you're still like "whatever", try and hold off on the shrimp or calamari until you are feeling better. Something else that seafood contains plenty of are histamines (which explains why so many folks are allergic to it). Histamines can definitely elevate the congestion in your system and result in you feeling a lot more uncomfortable, if not flat-out miserable.
You probably already know that eating fried foods on a consistent basis isn't the best thing for your overall health and well-being. Aside from the fact that they can help you to pack on the pounds, since fried foods are also high in trans fats, eating too many of them can lead to health issues like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Another problem with fried foods is the preparation of them can produce a toxic substance known as acrylamide; it's something that can lead to kidney and ovarian cancers.
As if all of this isn't enough of a reason to eat fried chicken and fried mushrooms less often, fried food is something else that can increase inflammation in your body. Also, since they are the kinds of foods that take longer for your body to digest, they can cause you to have an upset stomach. You definitely don't want that when you're dealing with all of the annoying symptoms that come along with having a cold.
First off, were you aware of the fact that another name for avocados is "alligator pear"? The more you know, boy. Anyway, I know you probably want to give me some pushback on this one since there are so many health benefits that come from partaking of this particular fruit. After all, avocados are high in vitamins B6, C, E and K. They are loaded with fiber and healthy fats. They also packed with antioxidants that can strengthen your heart. And, thanks to the tryptophan, folate and omega-3s that are in them, avocados can decrease depression-related symptoms too.
So, why are they on this list? It's because they're another food that are packed with histamines. Even if guacamole is a comfort food for you, wait until your sinuses clear up. Otherwise, you could have a big mess of mucus on your hands. Literally.
When it comes to the health benefits of chocolate, it's important to mention that dark chocolate that has at least 60 percent cocoa in it is what you should consume. That said, if you do make it a point to eat that kind, dark chocolate can improve your blood sugar levels, reduce your heart disease risk, strengthen your cognitive function, protect your skin from UV damage and keep free radicals at bay. That's the good news.
The reason why a cup of hot chocolate is not a good idea when you've got a cold is 1) the high saturation of fat that it contains can increase inflammation in your system and 2) the sugar that's in the chocolate can potentially multiply yeast and increase bacteria, especially in your gut where a significant amount of your immune system is located. That's why it's best to go with some hot apple cider, herbal tea or hot water with lemon and honey instead.
Yeah, I know. Some of these foods are probably things that you don't want to do without, especially when you're under the weather. But look at it this way—if you "fast" from them while you're getting over your cold, there's a significant chance that you'll get over it a lot quicker. That way, you'll actually be able to breathe the next time you have some fettucine or a fish sandwich. Now, doesn't that make it worth the wait?
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
10 "Healthy" Foods That Actually, Well...Aren't
8 Foods That Will Keep You Cool, Calm & Totally Relaxed
Why You Should Consider Leaving Fast Food Alone
The Foods You Should & Shouldn't Be Eating On A Plant-Based Diet
Featured image by Shutterstock
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- Foods to avoid when you have the flu | Ohio State Medical Center ›
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- 10 foods dietitians say you should avoid when you're sick - Insider ›
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
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Here's What Happened When I Started Taking Ice Baths Every Day
I'm sure by now you've seen a crazy number of people pop up across your "For You" page or in a random YouTube ad doing ice baths, also known as cold plunges. You may be wondering why these people are intentionally sitting in a tub of water between 39 to 50 degrees. I know that's what you're thinking because for the past few years, every time I post about doing an ice bath, my comments and DMs get filled with questions.
Since April 12, 2023, I've been doing daily cold therapy at home in my plunge tub, and I want to share the personal benefits I've seen it have on my life as well as the science behind the process. If doing cold therapy is a goal of yours, keep reading for tips and resources for you to start your cold therapy journey.
Courtesy of Christa Janine
The Physical Benefits of Ice Baths
I originally started doing ice baths in 2018 to reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout, but now I use them as a method to reduce inflammation in my knees and perform at a higher level during workouts. I recently had a double meniscus repair on my right knee, and daily ice baths have helped with my recovery process as well.
Since beginning cold therapy daily, I've seen an increase in my energy levels and improvement in my sleep patterns. Even though my workload has remained the same or slightly increased at times, I've been able to maintain my level of energy throughout the day without feeling completely depleted by the end of the night. Likewise, I used to have intense insomnia, but now I'm averaging 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
In addition to the direct benefits I've experienced in my physical health, science has shown that cold therapy can also boost your immune system, increase blood flow, reduce chronic pain, and boost your metabolism.
The Mental Benefits of Ice Baths
Since incorporating daily ice baths into my daily routine, I've noticed that when I get overwhelmed and feel stressed, I'm able to better manage my anxiety and control my nervous system. One method that is taught to novice ice bathers is utilizing your breath as you enter the cold water. This teaches you how to calm down your fight, flight or freeze response.
By understanding how to use my breath in stressful situations and practicing this usage daily, I'm able to implement this same practice when I feel anxiety or panic attacks coming on in my everyday life. Let's be clear: I still have anxiety, but I’m able to breathe through those moments and quickly move past them.
Courtesy of Christa Janine
In addition, another benefit I've found is mental clarity and awareness. This is one of the top benefits I receive from ice baths. Learning how to direct my thoughts and focus with my breath, I find clarity even in stressful moments. Though I’ve been bombarded with a variety of tasks and obstacles daily, I’ve been able to navigate through with a clear mind. This also allows me to articulate my thoughts and emotions more clearly because I’m more aware of what I’m experiencing in real time.
Lastly, daily cold therapy teaches you discipline and commitment to yourself and your goals. It allows you to focus on one thing at a time and teaches you how to be present in the moment. It's also a daily reminder that you can do hard and uncomfortable things even when they seem impossible.
If you're interested in learning more about starting your own ice bath practice I'd suggest looking into these resources and following these experienced cold therapists.
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Featured image courtesy of Christa Janine