Winter may be pretty much over but this is still a bad time for coughs and colds. The weather is still cold and it’s Ireland, so chances are it’s raining right now.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an office or a lecture hall that’s simply crawling with germs. People are coughing and sneezing and blowing their noses left right and centre and you’re thinking “there’s no way I’ll get out of here without a cold”.
The chances of picking up germs in environments like these paired with the cold weather and the rain that could leave you sitting in wet clothes for the day mean the odds of you catching a cold are extremely high.
But there are certain measures you could take to avoid getting a cold.
Get your Greens: According to a study by the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, eating plenty of leafy green vegetables can significantly boost your immune system. These vegetables contain certain food chemicals that ensure the white blood cells in the body can effectively fight infection. On the topic of food, try to avoid sugary foods as these can make your immune system a bit slow and sluggish.
Drink Plenty of Water: Keeping hydrated is essential for fighting colds and flu because it reduces symptoms such as sore throats and a stuffy nose. Furthermore, water helps your body to assimilate nutrients, converting food into energy. Water also helps your body to flush out toxins and impurities through sweat and urination. If you’re not crazy about drinking two litres a day, try eating foods that have a high content, such as salads and fresh fruit.
Stay Clean: Wash your hands before eating or touching your face. If you shake hands with someone who has a cold, or touch something that has been touched by someone who has a cold, there’s a strong chance you’ll catch their cold. Your eyes, nose and mouth are the easiest places for germs to get in, so avoid touching those parts of your face especially. Also, it’s a good idea to stay at least three feet away from someone who is coughing and sneezing.
Take your Vitamins: It’s important to take high quality vitamin and mineral supplements every day if you want to keep your health up. Vitamin C has long been praised as the go-to supplement when you have a cold and it’s true that boosting yourself up with this vitamin will help a lot. But it’s also important to take other vitamins such as Vitamin D, which is also important for boosting the immune system. While Vitamin C can be found in a lot of foods, Vitamin D comes from the sun. In the winter months, there’s a lot less sun so it’s important to take a good Vitamin D supplement. Also, a good probiotic can reduce the length of a cold by up to two days.
Get some Sleep: Our bodies recharge and recover while we sleep, so it’s important to get a decent kip every night – you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and much better. If falling asleep is difficult for you, try switching off all laptops, phones, televisions and other electrical distractions and read a book or relax. Darkness is important for good sleep as it promotes the production of melatonin – a hormone that aids sleep.
Spice things up: Curries and spicy foods have been known to get the nose running. This is great if you’ve got a cold as it helps to remove the bug from your system. Cayenne pepper contains an active ingredient called capsaicin which thins the mucus in your nasal passages. Garlic is also great for killing infections. Why not add some spices to soups or other dinner dishes for a cold-busting, tummy-warming meal?
Exercise: If you’ve already caught a cold, moving is the last thing you’ll want to do. But getting in 30 minutes of moderate exercise is great for sweating out bugs. Exercise boosts your metabolism and helps your body to fight disease. Even a 30 minute walk is beneficial. It helps you to get some fresh air and the movement will release endorphins, boosting your mood and helping you to feel happier.
Stay Positive: And speaking of feeling happier, it’s important to be optimistic. Your mental state helps your physical state so pessimism or depression directly affects the hormones produced by our bodies. Chemicals such as cortisol, which are released when we’re feeling low, depress the immune system, so stay positive and cheer yourself up however you can.