Winter has definitely hit in the Southern Hemisphere! All the “Summery” photos from our European counterparts are making this change in weather even harder to swallow!
This time of year has also brought with it some particularly nasty colds and flu’s that are wrecking havoc on our health. While we should spend more time on prevention, and even if we do, sometimes our immunity can fight no more, and a virus slips through.
It takes double the effort – sometimes literally – once a virus has hit to overcome it, and should be approached like any other physical challenge; with vigour! While it may seem like a lot of effort and potentially the last thing you feel like doing when sick, its worth it to reduce the severity and the length of a virus.
Here are the top 10 things you can do when a cold starts to break through (and these act
as great preventers as well):
1.Double the Vitamins. There are LOTS of different vitamins out on the market that claim to be the ‘silver bullet’ in fighting a cold. Keep to the basics with Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea. Taking this regularly throughout the year will strengthen your immunity, but if a virus hits, you can double the dose to really give your immunity the best shot at fighting off the virus. Even if you feel knocked down by the cold, pumping the body with vitamins is one of the best ways to give it a chance to get rid of it more quickly. Armaforce captures all three in one tablet.
2. Double the Probiotic. Gut health equates for 80% of your immunity, so it makes sense that to get the gut in tip top shape will help your immunity. Double the dose of your probiotic from one a day to twice daily. That means once before breakfast and the other just before bed – to give your body an extra hit of good bacteria to fight off the bad. Colds turn nasty when they turn bacterial (which is when you often need antibiotics!) so fighting off the bad bacteria with the strains of good bacteria found in a probiotic is a great combat mechanism.
3. Get the Best Shut Eye. We always rave on about the benefits of sleep but when you’re sick, your body needs even more to recover and recuperate. Up the nightly sleeps to 9-11 hours (yes you read that right!) and allow the body to take naps throughout the day (until about 5pm otherwise you will find it difficult to fall asleep!) as the body feels necessary. Remember, we’re all about learning to listening to our bodies, so if it needs the rest, give it.
4. Build up Your Magnesium. This primarily relates to #3 in getting a better sleep, because when we’re sick it’s often harder to get good quality rest. Magnesium is a great natural mineral to take to help aid your sleep. Taking one dose 10-20 minutes before bed can help put you into a deeper sleep. You can also buy it in oil form, and rub it into the body to help relieve those aches and pains often associated with a virus.
5. Remember to Breathe. When you’re all blocked up in the nose it often means that we’re not getting enough oxygen to the rest of the body. If it’s a chesty cold, it can also force us to take shorter and more shallow breaths. One of the best ways to open up the airways is to inhale eucalyptus oil. You can put it in a diffuser to keep it in your room at night, or just put a few drops on a tissue or handkerchief while you sleep. For a deeper hit, put some in a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head and breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes. Being able to sleep freely throughout the night makes a huge difference to the speed of recovery.
6. Drink Up. You know the benefits of hydrating generally but we need extra water to flush out the toxins when we are unwell. Herbal (decaffeinated) teas are also great and very soothing for a sore throat. Without sufficient moisture in the body, immune system cells can’t work optimally. You can tell if your well hydrated as you will need to go to the bathroom every couple of hours and it should be relatively clear (not a dark yellow).
7. Up the Antioxidants. There are some particular foods that are great at fighting off colds so adding them to every meal is great to not only boost immunity long-term, but to also to reduce the severity of the cold. The key staples are garlic, onions, turmeric, and salt. The anti-microbial properties of garlic and its relative the onion can fight off bacteria and viruses. Turmeric’s power comes from the fact that it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, while salt is great for reducing swelling and mucus. The best way to have them?
8. Make a Batch of Chicken Soup. It’s true what they say; a batch of chicken soup now has scientific backing in helping the common cold! The most widely cited research, published in the Medical Journal Chest in 2000, is by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. They found that chicken soup inhibits the migration of these infected cells in the body, meaning it essentially helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms. It seems to be the combination of vegetables and the chicken that has this effect. You can throw in any vegetables that you can think of – the more the better!
9. De-stress. Having to take time off work because we’re sick can seem impossible and overwhelming for the subsequent catch-up. However, reducing that stress is essential to allow the body time to heal. Meditation is one of the best ways to de-stress (learn more about HOW to here) and will have an impact on your recovery. University of Wisconsin researchers found mindfulness meditation training reduced the incidence, duration and severity of a cold by 35 – 60%!
10. Keep Up the Prevention. Your immune system has taken a blow with this virus and is going to be much weaker now making you more susceptible than usual to other colds and flus going around. Don’t just give up at the first sign of feeling better, keep up the maintenance and re-strengthen your immunity.
A virus is NEVER fun, but it is an excuse to do nothing. It’s a clear sign from your body that it needs rest and recovery time so don’t be afraid to listen.
Be prepared for this Winter season.
Originally published at angelaromero.com.au