During cold and flu season, it can be difficult to dodge the many coughs and sneezes surrounding you in your everyday. If you do happen to catch a cold or experience congestion, you may be wondering what remedy is going to work best for you. There are many cold elixirs, capsules, and powders on store shelves, so you may not know which to choose. To make matters more difficult, you may not realize that some cold medicines may contain high FODMAP ingredients that could add digestive distress to your list of symptoms. Therefore, let’s take a look at some common cold and congestion remedies and help you choose those that are low FODMAP friendly.

Common cold and congestion remedies

When you think of cough medicine, you may think of a red liquid with a tiny measuring cup. However, there are many other cold remedies out there on store shelves. Some common cold and congestion remedies include:

  • Cold lozenges
  • Zinc lozenges
  • Sore throat sprays
  • Saline nasal drops and other nasal sprays
  • Pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Cold-mist humidifiers or vaporizers
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants

Low FODMAP cold remedies

Some of the common cold and congestion remedies may not be low FODMAP due to certain ingredients. Many over-the-counter medicines contain added ingredients to sweeten the medicine to make it easier to consume. Some of these added ingredients may include:

  • Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, isomalt, and xylitol
  • Honey
  • Fructose

These ingredients are considered high FODMAP and may trigger gastrointestinal symptoms. The last thing you need when you are dealing with a cold is digestive symptoms to make you feel worse. Therefore, look for cold medicines that contain either no sweeteners or low FODMAP sweeteners like sucrose, glucose, dextrose, or sucralose, to name a few.

Other cold remedies that are low FODMAP friendly include:

  • Vapor rubs with menthol and eucalyptus oil to help relieve congestion
  • Neti pots or other types of sinus rinsing methods
  • Steam to help relieve congestion: You can eat some hot chicken soup and breathe in the steam from your bowl, place a vaporizer by your bedside or wherever you are sitting, or use an essential oil diffuser with cold-relieving essential oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint to help relieve congestion and help you breathe easier.
  • Saline sprays: These natural sprays can help you hydrate your nasal passages and sinuses, in turn reducing inflammation of your mucous membranes.
  • Stay hydrated: Although hydration has not been shown to heal a cold per say, it can help keep your body maintain an adequate production of mucus, which is important to loosen the mucus and help you recover. Also, experts suggest that if you become dehydrated while you are sick, then it can negatively impact your body’s ability to fight infection.
  • Rest: This one is a no-brainer since rest is important to recover after just about any physically or mentally stressful situation your body encounters. In fact, research shows that those who had poorer sleeping patterns were more susceptible to illnesses like the cold rhinovirus.

Take home message

If you happen to catch a cold this season, there are plenty of natural and low FODMAP remedies you can try to help you reduce symptoms and feel better until the virus passes. The important part is to just check the ingredient label of medicines for any added ingredients that may be high FODMAP. Also, use natural remedies to help you breathe more easily and make cold and congestion easier to live with until your cold goes away. Be sure to also check the Casa de Sante website for low FODMAP peppermint tea, chicken bone broth, and multivitamins to add to your “get well” collection of products.

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