It’s that time again - blankets are out, mugs of lemon and ginger on standby and that scratchy feeling at your throat lingering, telling you to slow down or risk being hit with a full fledged cold, or worse, the flu. With a particular interest in proactivity, it’s my pleasure to bring you my best 10 tips to avoid the winter cold - enjoy.
- Sleep. Immune function is dependent upon quality sleep: a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found individuals sleeping less than 7 hours were 294% more likely to develop a cold compared to those sleeping at least 8 hours. Suppressing natural killer cells and interleukin-2 molecules, these two players detect abnormal substances and eradicate them if deemed harmful. Conversely, quality sleep optimises the function of these immune components, allowing you to evade bugs accordingly.
- My garlic and Indian spice broth. Firstly, garlic - termed an immunostimulant, it heightens the activity of the entire immune system. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-parasitic and anti-carcinogenic; as published in the Journal of Immunology Research. Translated, it’s a weapon for protection against cold, flu and any other bug to come knocking at your door; and similarly, should be your first go-to meal as soon as you detect yourself feeling a little off. To create this soup, chop up a hand of fresh garlic and combine with warming Indian spices like cumin and turmeric - they are equally powerful in preventing your flu. Top with a little coconut milk and drink up - it’s delicious.
- Steamy showers and baths: a study in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that stress, tension, anxiety, depression and fatigue were less likely for those who bathed rather than showered. Loosening up congestion, a bath helps detoxify the body: which when riddled with bugs, is helpful. Not only that, it accelerates the movement of healing nutrients throughout the body - so take one after you enjoy the broth (above) and see your body come alive.
- Vitamin C Supplement: we all know that vitamin C is the go-to micronutrient to arm you against the flu, so this is a natural inclusion. My pick is Medlab Manuka-C: rather than a straight vitamin C, it’s combined with glutathione and zinc - enhancing immune function and overall healing, as well as maximising absorption rate. For those who think that the higher the dosage of vitamin C the better - remember that it’s a water soluble vitamin, so unless you absorb it you pee it out. Having a nutrient combo which optimises digestion by your body is key - hence the recommendation of Medlab’s Manuka-C here. Available to purchase at Priceline, TerryWhite and other leading health stores and pharmacies.