It’s definitely that time of year! The shortest day is past, but hello, cold and flu season. Whether you are passing the time while recuperating, or plan to avoid being slayed by illness this year, we have tips for you!
Wash your hands! This is a top tip from a doctor for avoiding catching colds from her patients. Many pathogens enter your body when you touch your mouth, which happens unconsciously many times a day. Keep those mitts clean and sanitised.
Nutrients. Your immune system is reliant on numerous nutrients to function properly and even a mild deficiency can lead to impaired immunity. Zinc, selenium, copper, vitamins D, A, C, E, B-6, folate and CoQ10 are all crucial for immune function. According to the Harvard School of Medicine the best strategy is a nutrient dense diet, supplemented with a daily multi. Mega-dosing when illness strikes is not advised. When it comes to choosing a multi or CoQ10 supplement, choose quality products that have been formulated for bioavailability, such as our multi and CoQ10.
Iron deficiency, deal with it. Being illness prone, or having a lingering cold may be a sign of iron deficiency. This deficiency needs targeted treatment, usually with a high-dose prescription iron supplement. At risk groups include vegetarians, vegans, athletes and pre-menopausal women, so if you think this could be you, get a ferritin test to be sure you are winter-ready.
Live a protective lifestyle. Looking after yourself year-round is the best insurance against seasonal ills. A balanced diet, high in fruits, veges, protein and healthy fats is the foundation, along with regular exercise, avoiding smoking, adequate sleep, minimal alcohol consumption, that daily multi and stress management. This is something you can work on right now. Choose one thing to improve (say, getting your 5+ serves of fruit and veges today), work on that habit, then tackle something else.
Grandma tips for symptom control. If you’ve already succumbed to a nasty, the best you can do for yourself is rest, support your immunity and try to stay comfortable. Traditional remedies can be surprisingly effective for symptom control. Some tried and tested remedies include:
- Lemon and honey. Boil lemons with their skins in water for at least 5 minutes. Pour into a cup and add honey to taste. Manuka honey is great here, as it’s also anti-bacterial.
- Raw garlic! Garlic is a traditional cold antidote that many swear by. Cut peeled garlic cloves into pill sized chunks and swallow them whole throughout the day.
- Eucalyptus oil. Place a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water. This can help clear up your sinuses.
- Stay hydrated. Along with your lemon water, make use of herbal teas, soups and broths to keep hydrated. It’s easy to become dehydrated when you’re not well and that just leaves you feeling worse.
And lastly, don’t try to be a hero. It can be very tempting (and is sometimes necessary) to ‘soldier on’ when you are unwell, but you enhance your recovery if you rest up. This also minimises the chance of passing your cold to others. And of course, if you are not feeling significantly better within a week, or your symptoms seem especially severe, do not hesitate to see your GP.
We hope you find something useful in these tips. Look after yourselves and remember, spring is just around the corner!