Stay Fighting Fit
There’s fog in the air, and a cold wind blowing in the
mornings. Winter is upon us.
Now is the time we traditionally hunker down, eat comfort
food, and try to stave off the sniffles.
This article will provide some guidance about the best
methods to avoid common winter illnesses and minimise their effects if they
Winter is traditionally the time for slow cooking of
preserved foods. In the modern world we
have access to a full spectrum of fresh food all year round, but the
traditionally summer foods are more expensive and don’t fit the style of
cooking we prefer at this time of year.
Winter vegetables contain an abundance of nutrients, and if
cooked in the right way can retain many of their nutrients. In fact, some nutrients, such as lycopene,
found in tomatoes, become far more available to the body through cooking.
But some nutrients, like Vitamin C, can be destroyed by the
Boiled vegetables can retain many of their nutrients, as long
as they’re not boiled for an excessive time as the nutrients can be leeched out
into the water. Using a slow cooker is an ideal way to maintain all the
nutrients in the pot.
Anti-oxidants are found in high quantities in green leafy
vegetables, but less so in root vegetables, so don’t cut salads entirely from
your winter meal planning.
Cold and Flu germs are passed most commonly via the
hands. The sufferer often infects
themselves when they touch an infected surface and then their own eyes, nose or
Thorough antibacterial hand washing is probably the single
best thing you can do to minimise the chances of catching a cold or flu. The waterless antibacterial products now on
the market are convenient to have in your bag at all times. Be aware that these products do contain
alcohol and will dry out your skin. To
combat this, it is a good idea to use a hand moisturiser to lessen the
Staying hydrated is essential in winter. The lower temperatures may fool us into
dropping our fluid intake, but it remains essential to overall good health.
More specifically, dehydration reduces the body’s ability to detox sticky virus
laden mucus from the sinus.
Staying active is also essential to good health in winter. Exercise stimulates the body’s production of
its own natural immune response. But be
wary, too much exercise can in fact depress one’s immune system. So moderate
exercise within your own capability is perfect.
There are some scientifically established nutrients which
can boost the immune system and reduce the severity of colds. The best source of these nutrients is always
from food sources as discussed above. However if you find your diet is deficient of
these items, supplementation is recommended.
Vitamin C – Vitamin
C has long been used to lessen the severity of colds. It is a powerful booster to the immune system,
which may increase resistance to infection.
Clinical studies have been able to show that it can reduce the length of
a cold by a reasonable amount, particularly in children. Some natural sources are fresh citrus fruits,
peppers, broccoli, cabbage, and kiwi. The
recommended allowance is 60mg for adults and 45mg for children.
Zinc – Has been
found to boost natural immunity. There are studies showing it can be
effective, particularly if there is some existing deficiency. Zinc is depleted in the body by alcohol,
smoking and through sweat. Natural
sources of Zinc are raw oysters, fish, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, mushrooms,
egg yolks and legumes. Daily recommended
allowance is 15mg for adults and 10mg for children.
Garlic – Garlic
is a traditional remedy for colds and flu and may have some specific use for
chesty conditions. There is also some evidence that it can reduce the length
and severity of a cold. It is great idea to use garlic generously in your
cooking during the winter, and/or supplementation when fighting a cold.
Probiotics – Maintaining
a healthy digestive and immune system is the best way to assist the body to
fight off the cold and flu before it takes hold. Studies have shown that maintaining good
digestion through probiotics has a direct and positive benefit on the immune
system. Probiotics are in yogurts, sour
milks, and fermented foods, including miso and tofu.
Antioxidants boost the immune system and help fight free radicles. Some naturally rich sources are:
- contains in flavonoids, alkaloids, and glycosides
and Resveratrol- contains flavonoids,
known as OPCs
Leaf – contains oleuropein which inhibits fermentative bacteria.
Superfoods – are
a powdered form of a combination of foods that contain important vitamins,
mineral and antioxidants which can be added into a drink. It is a good source to use to supplement.
Multivitamins – are
also a good source of supplementation when there are deficiencies in diet.
Click for our Herbal Tea Guide for suggestions for Cold Relief