It’s that time of year again where offices are full of gruffly coughs, runny noses and in general ill people. While the transition into winter might be characterised mostly by the building festive buzz, it’s hard to get excited for those chilly mornings when you can only breathe out of one nostril and your voice has gotten gradually croakier throughout the day.
You can increase your chances of avoiding colds and other illnesses by doing a little bit of preparation. Building up your immune system before the temperatures begin their annual plummet could benefit you. Whether you avoid the cold altogether or if you simply reduce the amount of time spent feeling unwell, give some of these tips a go and maintain full health this winter season, perhaps having a cup of fairtrade tea is a start!
Is Echinacea the cold healing heroine?
Sniffy noses have said to be cured by this herb. It has become a go-to remedy for those tackling the common cold and its series of annoying symptoms. Part of the Asteraceae family — more commonly known as the daisy, it is available in a variety of formats, from teas, capsules, liquid extracts, and even as a dried herb. Any echinacea devotee will stress the plant’s natural abilities in alleviating their flu symptoms. The complex mix of active substances that it is made up of have been found to target and support the immune system, and various studies have acknowledged a link between taking echinacea and experiencing symptoms for a shorter duration than in those who didn’t give the herb a go! And if you already grow your own vegetables, why not grow some echinacea too and keep stocked up?
A cuppa a day keeps the doctors away
Our humble cups of tea are clearly a huge part of traditional British culture, especially since we are a nation full of tea drinkers. We have all got our go-to brew — from the classic builder’s tea to fair trade tea and aromatic chai variants. But did you know that choosing the right brew could help to boost your immune system?
The wonder of green tea
Due to it’s detoxifying and caffeine free qualities, green tea has sprung to people’s attention in recent years – it is now also thought to be a new cold remedy cure! With an earthy mild flavour, you could mix it up by opting for a lemon or matcha variant, or simply stir in some honey for a warming, healing hug in a mug. It is full of antioxidants that can help to tackle bacteria and free radicals in the body, It also boasts a wealth of anti-inflammatory properties, which lend themselves nicely to soothing any sore throats, as well as tackling inflamed chests and coughing.
The perfect solution: Black tea
Black tea could be the perfect solution to that get-up-and-go problem that having a cold brings this winter. Black tea has the potential to kick start your immune system before it has even encountered any nasties, and this is due to its content of ‘catechins’, smart molecules which target bacteria before it strikes. The aroma of black tea can help to open up those clogged airways, and hush that pesky cough. The antioxidants that it contains can also prove beneficial for lessening those signature all-over body aches that come with the cold. Add this one to your shopping list and enjoy a cup a day to help keep the cold at bay!
Yay or nay to vitamins?
It’s unlikely your health will be restored by going to a vitamin shop if you already have suffered a cold. Vitamins are there to support your normal cell function, which can involve aspects such as your immune system, as well your bones and there are even hair and nail vitamins now! While not everybody will commit to taking them every day, some people do find a benefit from taking certain types.
You won’t need to worry about taking them on the daily if you’re already eating a healthy, balanced diet. But it’s good to be aware of the types that are commended for their immune system saving abilities if you want to build your body’s defences up, whether you choose to consume it in its tablet form or in your day to day diet.
What is Vitamin B6?
Reactions that happen within your body are well supported by Vitamin B6, especially reactions that occur in your immune system. It is widely available in capsule form, but if you want to increase your body’s content of it then include foods such as salmon, tuna, green vegetables, and chickpeas — hummus lovers rejoice!
Don’t forget your Vitamin C
This is a commonly known immune supporting vitamin. Deficiency in vitamin C has been linked to causing or increasing the likelihood of many related health conditions, and it is the key cause of the extremely rare condition scurvy. Therefore, ensuring that your vitamin C levels are topped up prior to the colder seasons can help your body to combat illnesses. The food products that you’ll find vitamin C in are wide ranging, from strawberries and tangerines to spinach, broccoli, and kale. For this reason, vitamin C tends to be at a healthy level in our bodies naturally, but it could help to be aware of exactly where you’ll find it if you’re committed to busting that cold!
Next: Vitamin E
Ensure that your levels of this are in check well before we reach the winter months, since this vitamin is praised for its ability to help the body fight off infection. It’s an antioxidant, and you will find it in foods such as spinach (every cold-warrior’s favourite leafy green), nuts, and seeds.
Take on board these great health suggestions this winter and avoid that dreaded common cold!