Here are four immunity boosting tips to avoid the cold and for those who already have it - get a speedy recovery.
1. Eat, Drink & Be Healthy
Eat as healthily as you 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.
Kale Juice is amazing and contains high levels of all three vitamins. Add kale to your juices, salads and stirfys.
Wheatgrass Juice, as the king of Superfoods, contains particularly high levels of Vitamin A and E, as well as all the other vitamins (apart from D, the sun vitamin), 92 minerals (out of the 102 we need), 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.
Vitamins A, C, and E all help the body produce it's natural defence T-cells, which produce antibodies that destroy cold bacteria.
Similarly it's a good idea to increase the amount of zinc rich foods you eat. 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.
Also, eat plenty of garlic, as it strengthens the immune system and helps to fight chest infections, coughs and congestion. Garlic also contains high levels of iodine, which makes it a very effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions and it has also been linked to reduction in heart diseases.
Omega-3 found in fish and in top quality oils such EQ3 and selenium, found in high dose in our Elixir Vitality juice, as well as in egg yolks and white meat, help the white blood cells eat up the bacteria.
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.
It can help to be aware of how bacteria and viruses spread; some are 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.
No one wants to seem unfriendly, but the work place is a breeding ground for cold sharing. Office air con units can be the worst for transferring the illness. Take regular breaks to get fresh air and eat a health nutrient rich lunch will help strengthen the immune system.
3. Keep calm to stay healthy
To keep your immune system strong try to reduce negative stress. In 2012 researchers at the University of Pittsburgh 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.
Managing stress levels by writing down the stresses and crossing out the things that matter the least to you or those that you have no control over, is very effective. Also, getting plenty of sleep and rest keeps you immune system strong and helps prevent colds creeping in.
4. 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