The winter is upon us (at least here in Australia). The mornings feel almost frosty, which is a big deal if you live in Brisbane. The evenings are chilly enough to make me seriously consider starting the first fire of the year, which is a big deal in this household!
The other thing that lets me know winter arrived is the amount of people coughing everywhere! Have you noticed? Every time a cold snap arrives, so does an army of coughing people. Now, I like winter like the next person, maybe even more so – being born in Poland. If there is one thing that I miss from Europe (and one only!) is the winter season with all its perks: open fires, White Christmas, snow and gluhwein… On the other hand, when I remember tramways and buses full of sniffly, coughing people, the mood dwindles!
There is no way of escaping winter, even in Australia; however there are ways of protecting yourself from the annoying common cold and flu.
- Wash your hands! Simple, yet VERY effective solution. The moment you come home from being outside, before touching food, phone, remote and also your face (eyes, nose, mouth), wash your hands. Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections.
- Eat more garlic, onion, turmeric and ginger! Garlic is a triple threat against infections – having antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Not only is it effective at killing bacteria, but it also fights yeast infections, viruses and parasites.
Onion, a relative of garlic, can be also successfully used in fighting off colds.
Turmeric, the world’s most potent anti-inflammatory, is high in curcumin, which increases body’s antioxidant capacities.
Ginger another potent anti-inflammatory, high in gingerol, with similar properties to curcumin.
- Strengthen your immune system by…..eating fermented foods! It might surprise some people to learn that eating fermented foods (every day!) will build up your immune system, yet that was nothing new to our great, great parents. That’s how they kept healthy! Did you know up to 80% of all immune cells in your body can be found in your gut? Fermented foods contain probiotics which are indispensable when it comes to keeping the cells of your immune system found in the gut happy, healthy and ready for action. Some examples of fermented foods: sauerkraut (being Polish, I’m salivating on a mention of this delicious stuff!), yoghurt (plain, with no sugar and flavouring), kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit high Vitamin C. Vitamin C (potent antioxidant) has a powerful action on our white cells (they are the cells that make up the majority of the immune system). It helps them to combat infection and stay alert.
- Get enough sleep. This alone could be the most important thing you can do to improve your immune system function. If your body is not getting sufficient amount of sleep, it releases inflammatory markers, which in turn can reduce the protective function of your immune system.
And to finish it off, one big request! If, despite following all the above advice you catch a cold, PLEASE, PLEASE, cover your mouth when coughing! That will unquestionably help to prevent someone catching it off you! Thank you!
To find out what to do once you catch a cold check my blog in a couple of days!
Smiles for miles!