Top 10 ways to avoid colds this winter
There’s alot of sniffing going on in the office this week, so I guess it’s officially cold and flu season.
It’s not very likely you can keep colds at bay completely, but taking extra care of yourself with these 10 ways to boost your immune system, may help.
- Eating well
By eating the right things, you’re ensuring your body is receiving all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. It’s important to consume foods that are rich in: Vitamin C: An important vitamin and anti-oxidant, your body uses Vitamin C to stay strong and healthy. It can be found in oranges (including orange juice), red and green peppers, kiwi fruit and strawberries. Vitamin E: Again, this vitamin helps to maintain a healthy immune system. You can find it in spinach, nuts, sunflower seeds, avocados and fish. Manuka honey is a great food to include in your diet. As well as being naturally sweet it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to ease the symptoms of a cold.
As if getting enough sleep on a normal basis isn’t hard enough, you need more when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re tired, your body isn’t fighting as hard, so try to get 8 to 10 hours a night. Your body will then get to work repairing cells and injuries you may have incurred during the normal day’s wear and tear.
- Get active
We all know exercise helps increase and improve our circulation, but what you might not know is that this increased blood flow can actually strengthen our heart and immune system, which in turn can improve our ability to fight infections. If you can, take it outside to make the most of the limited winter sunlight, as altered levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin negatively affect how the immune system performs.
There may be no more promoted solution to avoiding the flu this year (besides the flu shot, of course) than diligent hand washing. As many as 80 percent of infections are transmitted via contact like sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces that have been sneezed or coughed on and then touching “your mouth, eyes or nose, which are the conduits of viruses into the body.” Scrubbing before eating, drinking or touching your face, and disinfecting shared surfaces in the home (like the bathroom) and the office, like phones, computers and fridge door handles.
- Keep hydrated
Water helps the kidneys function properly and flushes out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies. If you have a cold, being dehydrated makes your mucus drier and thicker and less able to cope against invading bacteria and viruses. If you’ve already caught a cold, drinking plenty of fluids will help flush out the infection. Why not make it a camomile tea as it has high levels of the anti-inflammatory hippurate, which can ease cold symptoms.
Happy and relaxed people catch fewer colds, say scientists. Even when they do fall ill, their symptoms are less severe. It seems that certain immune cells are produced by a big belly laugh.
- Take some zinc
The mineral zinc is essential to help fight colds and provide a boost to a flagging immune system. Good food sources include meat, oysters, eggs, seafood, tofu, black- eyed peas and wheat germ.
- Stay warm and dry
The only thing that can cause a cold or flu is a cold or flu virus. Getting cold or wet won’t give you a cold. However, if you are already carrying the virus in your nose, it might allow symptoms to develop. Getting chilled causes blood vessels in the nose to constrict, affecting the defences in the nose and making it easier for the virus to replicate.
- Go to bed
But this time, not to sleep. Couples who have sex once or twice a week have 30 per cent greater levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which helps combat colds, than those who get intimate less often, according to researchers. But interestingly, those who had sex three times or more, had lower levels of the cold-fighting antibody than those who abstained completely. So maybe there can be too much of a good thing.
- Borrow a dog
Stroking a dog for 18 minutes can boost immunoglobulin A antibodies that fight infection, according to a study in the US. But remember: a dog’s for a life, not just to help you fight colds.