It is fair to say that battling the common cold is never an enjoyable experience, avoiding infection and flu is therefore often of high priority at this time of time of year, when we seem to be most vulnerable. Below are five tips that may help to ward off the symptoms of the common cold and aid in boosting the strength of your immune system to help to keep you’re body functioning optimally.
1) Getting enough sleep – For many people, this time of year can be very busy and very stressful. Whether you’re studying hard for exams, working overtime in the office or pushing yourself intensely in the gym or on the sports field, a lot of stress and trauma is placed on the body often with minimal thought given to rest and recovery. Studies show that those who sleep for only a few hours a night, rather than getting a regular 7 hours +, are much more prone to catching infections and viruses. Sleep acts as a time for restoration and recovery for the body, helping to regulate hormone levels and immune function, so it is vitally important that we get plenty of it!
2) Eat plenty of vegetables – Vegetables provide us with an array of fantastic micronutrients that are essential for optimal body functioning, yet are often overlooked and have their value discredited. Eating a wide variety of vegetables is crucial for wellbeing and will provide you with invaluable tools to fight off infection and inflammation. Ideally a full spectrum of colour should be considered when it comes to vegetables, with each providing unique benefits. Some of the best for immune function include:
◦ Sweet Potatoes
3) Eat plenty of fruit – Similar to vegetables, fruits provide us with key nutrients that help to ward off unwanted cold and flu symptoms. Many fruits, especially exotic varieties, contain fantastic inflammation fighting compounds and anti-oxidants, some great choices for this time of year include:
◦ Red grapes
4) Get to know your spice rack! – Whilst an array of herbs and spices jars can usually be seen adorning many a kitchen, very few people know the powers of some of the substances therein. Take for instance, turmeric, a common spice to find in a kitchen cupboard that has infact be shown to have phenomenal anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and even anti-carcinogenic properties. When trying to maintain optimal body functioning a good understanding of natural herbs and spices can prove a very valuable tool! Below are just a few others you might want to look into for their great health benefits:
◦ Garlic (ideally fresh)
5) Exercise – Whilst excessive, very intense exercise may actually weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, research appears to suggest that regular, moderate-intensity exercise can be an incredibly powerful way of strengthening your immunity. Undertaking some form of moderate exercise on a daily basis is thought to aid better circulation of immune cells in the blood and possibly aid the overall production of immune cells.