Runny nose? Cough? Sore throat? It’s winter, so build a strong immune system and follow these five tips.
While there’s currently no cure for colds and flus, what you eat over the winter months can help you avoid coming down with one.
1. Boost vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which protects and keeps your cells healthy. Several studies show that it may reduce the duration of a cold in some people. Add plenty of vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit or mandarins to your meals and salads. Try swapping coffee for a hot lemon and honey tea.
2. Add in more zinc
A lack of zinc lowers your immunity, making you more susceptible to infections. Get your zinc from foods like meat, chicken and seafood (especially oysters). It’s also found in milk, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
3. Get more vitamin A
Vitamin A helps protect your body against disease by strengthening your immunity and mucous membranes. You’ll find it in eggs, dairy, and oily fish (such as salmon, sardines and tuna). At dinner, use orange-coloured vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots, which all contain beta-carotene. Your body converts this into vitamin A.
4. Wash your hands
Washing your hands more frequently reduces the risk of catching flu-like illnesses by about 20 per cent, according to UK research. It stops the spread of contagious bacteria, as we frequently touch our nose and mouth without even realising it.
5. Get out of the fast lane
Stress and long hours combined with cool temperatures mean winter places a heavy toll on your body. Don’t cheat yourself of 7–8 hours’ sleep each night, and include some moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, to maximise your health.