To avoid getting sick or to shake off a cold quickly requires some careful fueling to ensure your immune system is well stocked and has the ammunition to nip the cold in the bud. Below are some of the top health tips our nutritionist Jess uses when she’s feeling run down to get back to feeling great again ASAP!
These should be a go-to during the winter as they have antibacterial and antiseptic properties. If you’ve caught a cold or there is a virus doing the rounds, eat as much garlic and onions as you can!
Tip: The easiest (and tastiest!) way to eat them in abundance is in homemade soup or curry. Which leads into Jess’ next tip….
Yes, Grandma knew best. Ensure you are eating lots of slow-cooked meals containing plenty of vegetables. Soups and broths are a wonderful way to keep yourself nourished and your immune system supported. Use hearty vegetables like sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower and pumpkin for a flavor and nutrient boost!
*Tip: Try adding warming spices, like turmeric and cumin, to give your immune system a boost. We have an awesome vegetarian stew and a turmeric broth recipe on the blog! *
Drink plenty of lemon and ginger herbal tea! Lemons are rich in vitamin C which helps our bodies fight off infections. They also have anti-bacterial properties and are a great liver detoxifier which is great when your liver is working over-time fighting off viruses.
Tip: Make your own lemon and ginger herbal tea by finely chopping a 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, let it sit in boiling water for 15 minutes, add a squeeze of lemon juice, strain and enjoy!
Keep up your fluid intake to aid detoxification and allow toxins to exit the body easily. Coffee dehydrates the body so drink plenty of water and herbal teas instead.
Tip: Feeling weak? A straw can help to get water down without having to lift a glass! It can also help you to drink more since you don’t get the air bubbles like you do when drinking out of a glass.
Avoid it like the plague! Sugar greatly compromises your immune system and makes you more susceptible to a long recovery. If you are run-down and then eat or drink something sugary, it can literally send your immune system into free-fall – and the next thing you know, you’re still not feeling better. So, if you’re feeling unwell, stay off sugar and allow your immune system to regroup.
Vitamin C is strongly anti-viral and research has shown that it can shorten the severity and length of most colds and flus if taken in sufficient amounts. If you feel a cold coming on increase your vitamin C dietary and supplement-wise.
Tip: Fresh peppers, cucumbers, argula and strawberries are all foods rich in vitamin C
One of the simplest ways to boost your immune system is to get more sleep. Lights off, silence, remove electronic gadgets from your room, be in total darkness so all your senses can rest and go into hibernation mode.
There are lots of herbs that can help fight winter cold ailments such as licorice! This is one of Jess’ favorite because it has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and will soothe the throat when it’s inflamed. Drink it as a tea or suck on a sugar-free licorice hard candy. Liquid herbs such as licorice, astragalus and echinacea can be used in both the prevention and treatment of winter ailments such as sore throats, runny noses or blocked sinuses.
Tip: Eucalyptus or tea tree oil can be inhaled via a steam bath to help unblock sinuses.
Don’t stress! Stress alone can suppress your immune function by up to 60%. Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which is thought to shrink the thymus gland in your upper chest area which is where part of your immune system is located. Prioritize getting better over worrying about your inbox filling up or the work you’ll have to do when you return to work. It can all wait!
Sometimes you feel hot when you are sick but be sure to keep your body warm. Pay particular attention to keeping your kidneys warm, across your chest and around your neck. A hot water bottle or heating pad is your friend when you feel like you might be getting sick!