As the cool weather sneaks in, we have roaring fires, warm blankets and delicious hot chocolate to look forward to. But colds and flu sneak in too….
In the cooler months, we tend to crave comfort food and sugar. It’s also more tempting to snuggle up inside rather
than head out for exercise. It’s natural then that your energy levels drop, and your immune system with it. Your immune system is also affected by the amount of sleep you get, your lifestyle, stress levels, environment and what you eat.
Support your body with vitamins, nutrients, and a few tricks to keep it up and running, and ready to face those winter
bugs and sniffles!
Stop the virus in its tracks
When a cold or flu strikes, it’s important to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and eat correctly. Eating the right food and following a healthy eating plan can help boost your immune system, help it to function properly, and decrease your risk of suffering with colds and flu.
Carla Yssel from Linctagon advises increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are full of vitamins and
minerals, and should be included in your daily diet. Opt for those rich in vitamin C, such as red and green bell peppers, dark leafy green vegetables like kale, kiwi fruit, pineapple, mango, broccoli, strawberries and oranges.
Hands carry their fair share of germs too. One of the most basic ways to keep healthy in flu season is to keep them
clean – both at home and out in public. Try a good Hand Sanitizer Spray that is antiseptic, antifungal and
Increase your vitamin C intake. It’s an important physiological antioxidant, and besides fighting colds and flu, it plays an important role in immune function as well as in the absorption of some forms of iron, and is also involved in
Is it a cold or flu?
As colds and flu are both caused by viruses, they can’t be treated by antibiotics – unless they develop into an infection. It’s better to rest up and treat the symptoms as best you can! Knowing what you’re working with from the start will help.
Colds make you tired, give you the sniffles and also cause coughing – and can last between four and 10 days. While a cold doesn’t always bring a fever, flu will. Flu will also make you tired, and cause pain in your muscles and joints. You may feel cold, have nasal congestion, a cough and headaches. With flu, you may also feel tired and weak for up to three weeks. It’s important to keep an eye on flu, as it may develop into something worse – such as pneumonia. If you notice a shortness of breath, consult a doctor immediately!
When you feel a cold coming on, drink tea made from 100ml ginger juice (made from fresh ginger), juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of honey. This old-fashioned remedy has been known to scare a cold away!
Nutritional consultant Vanessa Ascencao has these tips:
- Spice it up: add garlic, ginger, cayenne and turmeric to meals. They have strong antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
- Drink green tea: it’s a potent antioxidant, which strengthens the immune system.
- Stay hydrated with filtered water. If you have a cold or the flu, increase your water intake to about 10 glasses a day to make up for lost fluids and speed recovery.
- Increase vitamin D intake: vitamin D is great for cold and flu prevention, and boosts your mood.
- Get enough sleep: at least 7-8 hours of good-quality sleep is important for a healthy immune system and to help prevent stress and fatigue.
- Stay active: exercise boosts energy and mood, and supports the immune system. Try walking, yoga or exercises you can do indoors to keep active.
- Increase vitamin C intake: it helps boost and strengthen the immunity. Include citrus fruits, melons, berries and parsley in your diet.
- Eat soup: this is a great healthy winter comfort food and immune booster without the added calories. Use lots of vegetables and immune-boosting herbs and spices.
FEATURE: TARYN ARNOTT VAN JAARSVELD PHOTO:FOTOLIA.COM