This may seem like a mild winter, but the colds and sniffles are still lurking around. Am going to share with you some sneaky culprits that can bust your immunity and make you more prone to colds and coughs. Also going to share some tried and tested strategies to boost your immunity to colds and Cold-Proof your winter, not to underestimate the Flu -shot but you can try these natural methods as well.
Lack of vitamin D - Vitamin D is the new black and a lack of it seems to trigger everything from cancer to obesity. Add colds to the list as well . 77 % of adults ( me included) are Vitamin D deficient and studies show they are 40% more likely to develop a cold. Without this magic vitamin, immune cells produce fewer antibodies and make you more prone to colds. Remedy this by filling up on Vitamin D foods like milk, fish, fortified cereals or take a Vitamin D supplement. I take one everyday.
Sneakers in Hibernation - Putting of exercise because its cold and on account of shorter winter days is a bad idea. This severely impairs the immune system especially if you are a summer active kind who turns dormant during the winter. People who exercise at least 4 days / week are 50% less prone to catching the common cold. Every time you work out, you are rebuilding your immune system and protecting yourself against getting sick. Even 15 minutes a day can do wonders to boost your immunity and keep colds at bay. I am trying very hard this winter to sneak in at least a little bit of Physical Activity / day .
Stress with a capital S : Talking about serious stress here, the chronic kind which can cause biochemical changes in the body that cause the immune system to function less efficiently. De – stress ! any way you can whether its listening to music while exercising ( My favorite de- stress) or talk to your favorite de -stress buddy ( another of my favs) or just anything that causes you to De -stress ! This will strengthen your immune system and work towards cold proofing you.
Comfort Foods – To stay fit this winter and boost your immunity reach for healthy comfort foods like fruits, veggies, smoothies, nuts, wholesome soups, whole grain etc. Keep the donuts, sweet treats , sodas etc to a minimum. These are serious immune busters that can feed a cold.
Some Cold Friendly Foods
Chicken Soup : Why it’s a cold/flu fighter: When you have a cold or the flu, a major symptom includes congestion in the nose, chest, and throat. Chicken soup has specifically been shown in studies to thin the mucus secretions .If you add vegetables, you’ll boost the level of nutrients in the soup, which will help support immune function.
Garlic : Why it’s a cold/flu fighter: Garlic contains compounds, such as allicin—an oily substance, which gives it the characteristic odor and provide its antioxidant properties. Former research published in the journal ‘ Advances In Therapy’ found that taking a garlic allicin-containing supplement could help prevent colds as well as shorten their duration. Use garlic liberally in soups, sauces or just take a garlic supplement.
Lean meats : Why they’re cold/flu fighters: Rich in iron and zinc. Good iron levels are necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system. Zinc serves many functions, one of which includes activating a white blood cell that helps fight off infections.
Honey : Why it’s a cold/flu fighter: Grandma may not be wrong after all since a study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, found that buckwheat honey may reduce cough by coating and soothing an irritated throat. Honey works by reducing cough and helping with sleep. (Note: Don’t give honey to children younger than age 1—it could lead to infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness.)
Green Tea : Why it’s a cold/flu fighter: Green tea leaves contain antioxidants that can help to boost immune function. A recent study published in the ‘Journal of the American College of Nutrition’ showed that subjects taking a special preparation of green tea as a capsule experienced 23% less bouts of colds and flu overall and 36% fewer sick days. Their immune systems also produced more cells that fought off illness-causing bacteria and viruses. Sip it through the day : 2-3 glasses / day with honey for cold busting benefits !
Oranges, Brocolli, Sweet Peppers, Strawberries : Why they’re cold/flu fighters: Some studies in adults have shown that taking high doses of vitamin C daily may significantly reduce cold and flu symptoms. Drink O J and eat these fruits, veggies in abudance or take a vitamin C supplement.
If you have any tried and tested Cold Buster foods , do share…. would love to hear from you !