With the arrival of "The Big Chill", winter is well and truly upon us and with that comes the usual onslaught of winter bugs. Having two small children I have experienced first hand their unique ability to bring home every cold going round. Here are some tips I use at home to prevent the onset, or reduce the duration of colds and flu.
Keep well hydrated- Drinking plenty of clear fluids such as water and herbal tea helps to maintain adequate moisture in the respiratory tract and blood, and helps to thin out mucus. During an illness we tend to lose more water as the body temperature rises, so it is important to replace lost fluid in order to maintain these moisture levels.
Sleep- Adequate rest is vital to the healing process. During the deepest of sleep our immune system is able to function more efficiently.
Limit sugar- Excessive sugar consumption can promote inflammation and reduce the ability of immune cells to fight infection. So that big glass of concentrated orange juice may be doing you more harm than good!
The normal duration of a cold is usually around 3-5 days in people with a healthy immune system. Certain supplements may help to prevent or shorten the duration of colds:
Vitamin C- A potent antioxidant naturally found in dark berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes and brassica vegetables to name a few. Vitamin C is not only critical for immune function but it also has a direct anti-viral effect. I usually recommend boosting your daily Vitamin C intake to at least 2g daily for adults.
Echinacea- A popular traditional herbal remedy used in the treatment of colds and flu. Studies have shown that extract prepared from whole E. Purpurea plant, (eg Echinamide) was found to be the most effective. Start taking as soon as you feel the onset of cold symptoms.
Black elderberries- These small, dark berries are abundant in the wild at the start of winter, nature knows best! When taken regularly as a juice, syrup or capsules they can help to prevent colds due to their high flavonoid content with antioxidant properties.
Zinc- This mineral is essential in supporting your immune system to fight off infection. Look for zinc lozenges in doses of 15-25mg, they must be free from sorbitol, mannitol and citric acid.
*The content of this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.