Natural Ways to Fight Colds and Flu13/01/2017
The festive season is well and truly over, but flu season is just getting started. Here are some natural methods to give your body a fighting chance against common colds and tips to boost your immune system.
Get a Jump on Your Cold
We’ve all either heard or uttered the phrase “I feel a cold coming on”, but how many of us ever do something about it? Prime your defences against the incoming feeling of sickness with the following.
Fluids: Start drinking water and juices with vitamin C. This will make sure your body is adequately hydrated to tackle any cold or flu germs that are on the attack.
Gargle Salt Water: If you think you can feel the early signs of a sore throat, add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water and gargle the mixture before spitting out. The salt helps absorb any excess fluid in your throat and the spitting out action expels the impurities from your system
Take a Hot Shower: When you arrive home take a hot shower to warm yourself up. The heat can also open your nasal passages, helping you to keep your nose clean.
Have a Helpful Hot Drink: Get a tea pot and fill it with hot water, slices of orange and lime and some honey. Nurse a cup or two of this before bed.
Get an Early Night: Your body needs rest to give it the best fighting chance against cold and flu. If you’re starting to feel unwell, top up the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night by 90 minutes or more to help you start fresh the next morning.
If you’re feeling fine but are perhaps worried that you might catch the cold going round your office or home, here are some lifestyle choices that can boost your immune system.
If you’re lucky, this tip might already be part of your New Year’s resolutions meaning a reduction in sugar won’t be the be all and end all for you. A sugar packed diet can impact how your white blood cells perform against bacterial infections. Some research suggests that vitamin C and sugar compete for space in white blood cells, so the less sugar you consume, the more your white blood cells can stock up on vitamin C and protect your body.
Cut the Caffeine
Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system that is responsible for your fight-or-flight response. Normally when this response is triggered it’s because the body needs a sudden burst of energy to ‘survive’ a situation. Adrenaline, sugar and fat is released so your body is ready to go, but when this response is triggered because of too much caffeine then these impurities simply stick to your system.
Go for the Good Fats
Omega-3 is an important friendly fat that can help you survive the winter without the need for multipacks of pocket tissues.
Omega-3 can be found in fish, fish oil and krill oil, and contains fatty acids that support platelets in your blood and prevent blood clots that can cause heart attacks. These acids are known as EPA and DHA stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These acids also help the body fight against autoimmune disease and are also good for the cardiovascular system.
Boost Your Diet with Vitamin C
You know by now that vitamin C is vital to fighting off cold and flu, but if you’re fed up of eating oranges all the time, you can reinvigorate your menu with alternative sources of the vitamin.
In your salads, swap out iceberg lettuce with dark leafy greens like kale. In your fruit salad try some sliced mango or kiwi chunks. You can also sneak in some vitamin C into main courses with zesty salsas. For example, papaya and mixed peppers makes a great salsa that goes great with salmon. Find out how to make this dish with the help of this BBC recipe.