With winter setting in, the cold and flu season is in full swing, leaving many of us coughing and sneezing our way through the colder months.
Whether you’re fighting off a nasty cold or are taking preventative steps, here are some simple and cost-effective ways to help you stay healthy this winter.
Fill your diet with immune boosting foods
You are what you eat so on your next shopping trip, fill your basket with a rainbow of fruit and veg to help keep your immune system going strong. Vegetables like beetroot, butternut squash and sweet potatoes are great sources of Vitamin A, and kale, broccoli, red onions, cranberries and blueberries contain the antioxidant quercetin, both of which help defend against infection and the common cold.1
Ginger is a good friend when you’re coming down with a cold. Not only does it cleanse the system and help bring down body temperature, the root contains a compound called gingerols, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties2. Add a few slices of fresh ginger to hot water to soothe a cough or sore throat, or add into cooking for a tasty, flu-fighting meal.
Garlic is another great antioxidant, producing a compound called allicin when it’s crushed or chopped, which is believed to reduce the symptoms of the common cold, as well as the length of illness.3
Top up on your vitamins
Vitamin C is widely thought to help prevent colds, however studies have found that taking Vitamin C won’t necessarily prevent a cold, but if taken before the onset of symptoms, it could shorten the duration of the cold.4
Vitamin D supplements have been found to prevent respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia: a study by Queen Mary University of London found that Vitamin D supplementation cut the proportion of participants experiencing at least one respiratory tract infection by 12%.5
Despite old wives’ tales suggesting that a stiff drink, like a brandy or hot toddy, will blow away the cobwebs, alcohol isn’t a great choice when you’re under the weather. Stay clear of toxins like alcohol and caffeine, which cause dehydration and can have a negative effect on the immune system. Instead, stick to fluids like water, juice, or warm lemon water with honey to keep your hydration levels topped up.4
Keep it clean
It might sound like an obvious one but strict hand hygiene is incredibly important when it comes to preventing the spread of germs. Washing your hands with soap and water removes dirt, viruses and bacteria, eliminating germs and the risk of infection spreading.6 Proper hand hygiene isn’t just important after using the bathroom. Ensure you thoroughly wash your hands when eating or preparing food, and when you return home from a public place. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds and dry with a clean paper towel or air dryer.
Hit the hay
If you’re coming down with a cold, you’re unlikely to be full of energy so ensuring you make time to get some extra rest and a good night’s sleep is even more important.7 A lack of sleep can significantly impact your immune system, increasing the likelihood of catching infections and succumbing to viruses. When you’re asleep your body continues to fight the infection, giving your body the opportunity to restore and heal.
To find out more about Sovereign Health Care and how its Good All Round cash plan can help you stay healthy all year round, click here.