Sydney Naturopath and Eat Yourself Sexy host Emma Sutherland gives us 5 tips for preventing nasty colds and flu this winter. Here’s what you should eat, drink and do everyday to stay healthy in the cold.
1. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains
This ensures you get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy immune system. Eat plenty of onion and garlic for their antimicrobial properties to keep germs at bay, and consider taking natural supplements like Kyolic Aged Garlic ExtractTM to help prevent winter colds and flu. Ginger and chilli are warming foods and adding them to your dishes can also be a great immunity booster in the cooler months.
2. Ensure that you go into the winter months with adequate levels of Vitamin D
Research has shown that people with low Vitamin D get more frequent and more severe colds than people with high levels. As it is a fat soluble vitamin, be careful of eating “low fat” foods as you will be missing out on Vitamin D. Natural sources are full fat dairy, sardines, egg yolks and cod liver oil.
3. Eat adequate amounts of protein
Protein forms the building blocks for your infection fighting antibodies. This can be obtained from animal sources such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy foods or from plant sources such as legumes, tofu and tempeh.
4. Wash your hands often
Cold viruses can survive for several hours on hands, tissues, or hard surfaces. A healthy person can contract a virus by touching a contaminated surface, then touching his or her own mouth or nose. Studies demonstrate that touching your nose or eyes with the fingertip area leads to an overloaded immune system and most of the infections of the upper respiratory tract. Keyboards and telephones, particularly when they are shared, are among the most germ-laden places in a home or office and the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat!
5. Moderate exercise
Studies suggest that moderate exercise is beneficial to strengthen the immune system. When you exercise you increase blood circulation through your body, therefore circulating antibodies and white blood cells, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it has a chance to spread. A study was done with 50 women divided into exercise and non exercise groups. The exercise group walked briskly 45 minutes for five days a week. The women who walked experienced half as many colds as the non exercise group. Walkers had an increase in natural killer cells from the beginning. Natural killer cells are part of the defence against germs and viruses.
How do you stay healthy in the cold?