How to battle cold and flu naturally

How to battle cold and flu naturally

Updated: May 07, 2024Veronika Larisova

As the chill of winter creeps in, so does the dreaded onset of cold and flu season, sending many of us searching for remedies that can alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery. Turning to natural solutions aligns with the Chief approach to health and offers effective ways to boost the immune system and combat these common viral infections. From nourishing foods rich in vitamins and minerals to essential hydration and restorative rest, understanding how and why to fight cold and flu naturally will change your immune system and health in the long run. Ditch the crappy over-counter cold& flu meds, and bring on grandma’s tips.



Garlic is the number one natural remedy for colds and flu because of its antiviral properties. It’s been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and according to the most recent science, garlic is effective in fighting an array of illnesses, including colds and flu, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and skin infections, fever and cold sores. The secret is in the active organosulfur compounds, which give garlic a strong aroma as well as healing powers.

Some studies also suggest that garlic boosts the immune system, provides anti-inflammatory benefits, and reduces oxidative stress, thus helping the body repair itself swiftly.

There’s no need to rely on expensive garlic powders and extracts. In fact, the most effective way to combat the common cold and flu might be as simple as chewing on a raw clove of garlic, a readily available and affordable option.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for the proper function of the immune system. It helps stimulate the production and function of white blood cells, such as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection.

While it may not prevent the onset of cold and flu, vitamin C plays a crucial role in reducing the duration and severity of cold symptoms. It aids in tissue repair and acts as a potent antioxidant, reducing inflammation and aiding recovery. Its benefits are particularly pronounced in individuals with low vitamin C levels or those experiencing high stress levels. Interestingly, Vitamin C is thought to contribute to the integrity of mucosal membranes (nasal and respiratory), making them more robust against pathogens that cause colds and the flu.

While severe vitamin C deficiency is rare today, even slightly low levels can have detrimental effects on health. According to research, taking vitamin C when you are already sick is a little too late. The best practice is to increase your vitamin C intake by consuming foods high in vitamin C at the start of the flu season.



Zinc is an essential micronutrient and very important for the immune system function. It is involved in producing and activating T-lymphocytes, which are key components in the immune system’s response to pathogens. A deficiency in zinc can lead to a weakened immune response, making the body more susceptible to infections like colds and the flu.

Zinc is known for its antiviral properties. It’s particularly useful in preventing the multiplication of rhinovirus—the most common cause of colds—in the throat and nose, thereby reducing infection and its severity. It also plays a vital role in managing inflammation and oxidative stress, common responses to viral infections. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities help minimise damage from oxidative stress during infections, aiding in faster recovery and milder symptoms.

 Before reaching out for expensive zinc supplements, which can be toxic at high doses, consume foods high in zinc, such as oysters, beef, and cashews. Even just having zinc lozenges seems to reduce the duration of cold symptoms significantly when taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.

If you are time-poor and don’t love oysters and lozenges, have Chief Organic Beef Liver, Heart & Kidney Immunity Boost, which contains vitamin C, D, and zinc. Because this supplement is made from real food, there’s no risk of zinc toxicity.


Bone Broth

Bone broth is often recommended for colds and flu due to its hydrating properties and rich content of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which help maintain fluid balance. It contains beneficial amino acids such as glutamine, which supports immune function, and cysteine, known to thin mucus in the lungs. Additionally, bone broth offers minerals like zinc and selenium, crucial for immune health, and components like collagen and gelatine, which may support gut health—a key area for immune activity. Its nutrients also have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce symptoms associated with colds and flu.

Drinking hot drinks during the flu also provides soothing relief for throat discomfort, aids in hydration and congestion relief through steam, enhances immune response by increasing blood flow, and offers comforting effects to help the body focus on recovery.



Increasing protein intake is crucial when you have a cold or the flu. Protein supports the immune system by aiding in the production of antibodies and immune cells needed to fight the infection. Protein also plays a vital role in repairing body tissues damaged during an illness. It helps maintain muscle mass, which is especially important when physical activity is reduced due to being sick. Moreover, adequate protein helps ensure the body receives essential nutrients to support recovery, even when appetite is diminished.

The recommended protein intake to recover and maintain muscle mass when sick is 2.3–3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Check out our protein guide for easy tips on increasing your protein intake.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in enhancing the pathogen-fighting effects of white blood cells, which are important parts of your immune defence. It decreases inflammation and can help promote an immune response. Adequate vitamin D levels may reduce the risk of respiratory infections and the severity of illnesses such as colds and flu. Natural sources of vitamin D include exposure to sunlight, which triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Get out in the sun every morning without sunscreen and sunglasses to get the maximum benefit but don’t get burned. Even 10-20 min of exposing your face and arms will do the trick. The best whole food sources are fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, beef liver, and egg yolks.


Sauna and Ice bath

Sauna and ice bath are not only effective in recovering from exercise and athletic performance, but they are also the best practices for a strong immune system.

Saunas increase the body's core temperature, mimicking a fever, which can help kill pathogens and boost immune efficiency. They also improve circulation, speed up the body’s healing process, and reduce stress, which may enhance immune function. Regular sauna use could support the immune system by creating an environment that aids in faster recovery and possibly reduces the duration of infections like the flu.

Ice baths are known to reduce inflammation and alleviate muscle aches associated with the flu. They may also boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells and activating heat shock proteins that protect cells from stress. Regular exposure to cold water through ice baths can enhance the body’s natural defence mechanisms, helping to fight off infections more effectively. The ice bath effect on the immune system persists for 1-4 days.


Too much information and no idea where to start? Just follow the Chief Cold & Flu Protocol:


  • 3x 2 Chief Immunity Boost caps
  • Sip warm bone broth with fresh crushed garlic throughout the day.
  • Increase your protein intake by following this guide.
  • Have a cup of hot collagen chocolate in the evening to up your fluids and protein and curb cravings. Use Grass-fed Collagen Protein Powder - Dark Chocolate with milk or milk alternative.
  • Eat foods high in vitamins C and D, such as beef liver, or have an extra dose of Chief Organic Beef Liver. You can add it to broths and smoothies.
  • Make sauna and ice baths a part of your weekly schedule all year round. If you are already sick, you can go to the sauna but lay off ice baths until you feel better. And avoid the communal sauna; you don’t want to infect others. Book a private one.


Veronika Larisova

Co-Founder, Registered Nutritionist, Exercise Physiologist 

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