We have all had the experience of getting back to work (and kids to school) after the summer holidays, colder autumn weather and then a cold hits us. This has already happened to Ralph, our son. He has just started back at school and then on Monday morning he woke with sore throat and sneezes….
I have added here my top four immunity boosting tips to avoid the cold and for those who already have it – get a speedy recovery.
Eat, Drink & Be Healthy
Eat as healthily as you and your kids can. That means plenty of raw or lightly steamed vegetables and lots of nutrient packed smoothies and juices. Some of the best immunity boosting foods contain high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, as they all increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies.
Organic Kale Juice is amazing and contains high levels of all three vitamins. Organic Wheatgrass Juice, as the king of Superfoods, contains all vitamins (apart from D, the sun vitamin), 92 minerals (out of a possible 102 in the soil), 21 amino acids (out of a possible 24), and over 80 enzymes – definitely fantastic when you need a real boost and a quick recovery.
You will also find high levels of vitamin C in citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli, peppers and brussels sprouts. You can also get plenty of Vitamin E when you snack on sunflower seeds and almonds.
Similarly it’s a good idea to increase the amount of zinc rich foods you consume. Eating proteins like turkey or lamb, shellfish or pumpkin seeds, nuts, wheatgerm and spinach will give your infection-fighting white blood cells that extra boost.
Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids found in fish and plant based oils are key to staying healthy. I personally use EQ, a top quality Norwegian arctic fish oil (see my blog about Omega 3 oil here).
Remember to drink plenty of water, as dehydration puts the body under stress, therefore lowering your immune system. It can be easy to forget to drink as much water in the winter months. If you struggle with this, try warm drinks like honey, lemon and ginger in hot water. The vitamin C will help boost immunity, whilst the ginger eases nausea and the honey, soothes the throat.
You may not want to think about the germs behind the colds, but being aware can mean you’re less likely to catch them. Whilst some cold viruses can be spread through the air and breathed in, others can and are just as easily passed around just by touch.
Shaking hands with someone who has a cold or touching a door handle after someone with a cold can also transfer the virus. Remember to wash your hands after being near anyone with a cold or touching public door handles or shared items etc.
Keep calm to stay healthy
To keep your immune system strong try to reduce negative stress. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh did a study where they asked 276 healthy volunteers about the stresses in their lives, and then deposited cold viruses in their noses. Those who reported chronic stress (particularly personal difficulties with friends or family) were more than twice as likely to become ill.
A good way of managing your stress levels is writing down your stresses and then, although this isn’t easy, try stop yourself stressing over smaller issues or those things that are outside your control. This will free you up, whilst also helping to protect your immune system.
Exercise & Sleep plenty
Exercise has a huge number of health benefits. It makes your heart and lungs stronger and so increases the rate at which your heart pumps blood around your body, therefore improving the distribution of oxygen to the rest of your body. The muscles in your body get stronger the more you use them and the immune system is no different. The stronger your body and the cells within it, the more resistant your immune system becomes.
The positive impact of exercise on the body can help build resilience and therefore reduce likelihood of catching the common cold. However, if you have already picked up a cold, do try to let the body rest. Exerting energy that your body needs to fight infection is unwise and will mean it takes longer to recover.
Here’s to happy, healthy immune systems x