Surprisingly, it is not the freezing weather itself that causes illness, but being confined in small, inside spaces with others infected with a bug. Come November, we’re much more likely to lounge on a sofa than breathe in fresh air at a local park. Making a few simple changes to your diet and exercise habits can help to avoid most colds.
- Choose your foods. Eat plenty of vegetables to help strengthen your immune system. Incorporate some immune-boosting garlic when appropriate. Eat soups, stews, casseroles and curries. Make a chicken soup – it boosts your white blood cell count. Eat oily fish to stimulate your white blood cells, or if you’re vegetarian add flax seeds to your diet. Go easy on sugar as it affects white blood cells ability to react to bacteria. This weakens the immune system.
- Zinc. Taking zinc within 24 hours of the start of symptoms help shorten colds according to the Mayo clinic. Zinc may help to keep cold viruses from multiplying in your nose and throat.Zinc can be taken in supplement form If supplementary zinc is taken there are risks and too much zinc can depress the immune system and there can be interaction with other medcation. The safest course is to talk to your doctor before considering the use of zinc to prevent or reduce the length of colds.
- Drink plenty fluid. It’ll help flush out your system and support your circulation and is a good way of clearing mucus from your body. If plain water doesn’t appeal, try herbal tea or hot lemon and ginger drinks. Gargle with salt water. Inhale steam
- Have enough sleep. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep each night. If you regularly do not get enough sleep, it will be much more difficult for your immune system to ward off an infection, and it will take you much longer to recover. A cold that may have lasted 3 days can linger for two weeks if you don’t receive deep, restorative sleep.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap. It is an extremely effective method of washing away bacteria and viruses that can cause disease.
- Make friends. Studies have shown that those with a good friendship group are less likely to get sick.
- Go for a walk. Vitamin D strengthens your immune system and reduces the risk of infections. You make vitamin D in your body when your skin is exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. Exercise helps to boosts circulation and moves those cells involved in fighting infection around the body. Take time to relax. Enjoy something: feel-good music, a massage, quality time with those you care about.