The majority of us are ready to give winter the old heave-ho and welcome the emergence of spring. That said, the nation is still battle-scarred by the cold weather, recent storms, two years of Covid-19 and of course the annual arrival of Flu, the common cold and a plethora of other unwelcome viruses that seem to mount an attack on our immune system at this time of year.
But are there things that we could be doing to ensure a healthy immune system and shore up our body’s natural defences? The answer is, of course, yes. Practising preventative care daily will minimise the effects of nasty winter bugs and put pay to lengthy-time off work too. So, just how do you support against colds naturally?
How to Avoid Cold and Flu Season
Sleep is one of the four pillars of health and yet too often, it gets pushed to the bottom of our priorities. Instead, we end up staying up late, bingeing on the latest must-watch shows or tossing and turning the night away as we stress about the ever-expanding to-do list.
The thing is that if we want good health, we need to fix our sleep. That’s because it’s vital to the optimal functioning of our mind and body. Try creating a relaxing bedtime ritual, whether that’s reading, taking a bath, burning a therapeutic aromatherapy candle, or whatever helps you to wind down.
It may sound bizarre but keeping the right balance of bacteria in the intestine can have a hugely positive effect on the rest of the body. So, what does a healthy gut look like? Well, it has healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off viruses and bacteria and did you know that the gut communicates directly with your brain and hormones to support general health and well-being too?
That means it’s time to up your intake of foods for a healthy gut. We’re talking probiotics like kombucha, kefir, live yoghurt, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut. But if you’re not so keen on the sound of those, why not try a probiotic supplement instead like Bio-Kult.
It’s long been said that garlic boosts the immune system because it promotes more virus-fighting t-cells. This is beneficial because it reduces the severity of a virus, which means that the symptoms go away faster. For a shortcut, take garlic extract daily or if you prefer the old-fashioned route, incorporate more garlic into your daily diet. Just remember to add peppermints onto the next shopping order too!
Stress is known to affect the mind, but it can detrimentally affect the body too. It’s because chronic stress causes an inflammatory response which over time reduces the number of lymphocytes in the body. So, if you’re continually suffering from winter coughs, colds, and flu viruses, it’s probably time for some self-care to minimise stress.
Self-care comes in many forms but essentially, it’s about taking action that preserves one’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. It might be a 10-minute daily meditation. Or a new hobby that you can lose yourself in. An aromatherapy balm is another tool that can be used to manage stress and rapidly shift an anxious mindset to a calmer one.
Zinc is well known for cutting the time of the common cold, but how does this super-powered micronutrient work? An easy explanation is that zinc affects how our cells respond to infections and keeps the inflammation under control, preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria. That’s why it plays such a key role in the maintenance of immune function.
Our bodies can’t make zinc though, so it must come from food. To ensure you have enough zinc in your diet, eat whole grain, dairy, shellfish, and beans regularly or consider taking a daily supplement (supplements should not exceed the maximum recommendation of 25mg per day though).
There have been many studies over the years reviewing the effect of exercise on the immune system and these have overwhelmingly shown that if you exercise regularly and are physically fit, you’ll suffer fewer upper respiratory tract infections. So next time you’re trying to duck out from the gym, remember that a bout of exercise will mobilise millions of immune cells and circulate them around your body to where they’re needed.
We all know that many fruits and berries contain Vitamin C. But did you know that it’s also a turbo-charged antioxidant that amongst many other things, supports a healthy immune system? There have also been certain studies that have shown that high doses of Vitamin C can decrease the time of a common cold.
And the great news is that there’s an abundance of foods that you can eat to keep your Vitamin C levels topped up. Think citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit, papaya, melon, broccoli, bell peppers, sprouts, and kale for starters!
Another super strong antioxidant, Ginger is antimicrobial, meaning it kills salmonella and bacteria. Not to mention the fact that it’s also anti-inflammatory. Given that fighting inflammation keeps the immune system healthy in the longer term, this is a go-to staple for cold and flu season.
If you’re going to eat nuts, almonds really pack a punch. They’re not just a tasty snack or addition to breakfast, almonds are also antioxidant-rich, great for brain function and contain protein and iron, essential for optimal functioning of the immune system.
This dietary supplement for the common cold and other infections is based on the premise that it might stimulate the immune system to fight infection more effectively. Research is ongoing but there have been promising findings that it may reduce your chances of getting a cold.We would love to hear about your mental wellness journey. You can also keep in touch via our Instagram @iamscentered or sign up for our newsletter for updates, news and offers.