We are deep into winter but still getting the odd beautiful sunny day. This time of the year with its changing temperatures invite flus and colds to visit.
It is possible to catch the cold and flu all year round, but you are more likely to get sick when the temperature drops and evenings get shorter. But what exactly is the difference between cold and flu? Although they share symptoms, they are not the same - both are caused by different types of viruses!
The major difference is the severity of symptoms. With both, your nose may run, and you may experience headaches, but with a cold, you should be able to carry on with your everyday life. In contrast, you will feel much more tired when you’ve got the flu. You may also feel achy all over and have a temperature. Some people also experience diarrhoea or sickness. Luckily, after about a week, your flu symptoms should begin to ease.
So how can you speed up recovery? Antibiotics will not help because both cold and flu are viral infections. The best way to manage symptoms is to control your pain and keep your temperature down with paracetamol. It is also important to stay hydrated, so drink lots of water! But all in all, the most important thing to do if you’re suffering from cold or flu is to rest up and get all the sleep you need.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
It is important to top up your immune system by eating fruit and veges that are rich in antioxidants. Seasonal types include apples, mandarins, broccoli, and carrots. Include at least one piece of fruit or vegetable in every meal or snack to get your 5+ a day.
Drink lots of water
It is still so important to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day, even though it may be chilly outside.
Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system.
Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection .Vitamin C helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.It is also an essential part of the skin’s defense system. It’s actively transported to the skin, where it can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers .
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that must be obtained from the diet or supplements.
Vit C has been linked to many impressive health benefits, such as boosting antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, protecting against gout attacks, improving iron absorption, boosting immunity, and reducing heart disease and dementia risk.
Overall, vitamin C supplements are a great and simple way to boost your vitamin C intake if you struggle to get enough from your diet.
Does your mood drop faster than the temperature? You're not alone. As many as one in 10 people get the winter blues, and lower sunlight hours in winter may be the culprit1. The good news is, you can beat the winter blues by spending some time outside in the middle of the day - even when it's a bit nippy.
Choose food rich in Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been shown to support the immune system. We usually get it from the sun, but due to the frequent bad weather and the low sun angle in winter we get far less sun exposure, making food the most important source. Oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are vitamin D rich, as well as vitamin D fortified milks and yoghurt.
Incorporate garlic into your meals
Not only does garlic make food taste great, it is also a great fighter of disease. It is most beneficial to your immunity when it is chopped and left to stand for 10-15 minutes prior to cooking.
Enjoy soup and make casseroles
With lots of veges, some beans or lentils and maybe some meat, soup is the perfect food to build your immune system. Similarly, a casserole with meat, vegetables and a can of beans is a great way to boost your ability to fight disease, as well as being real comfort food. Red meat is high in zinc and iron, two minerals which boost the immune system. Legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans) are an excellent source of protein, are low fat, high in fibre, and have a low GI.
We hope this has helped with a few easy ways to stay healthy but if you aren’t feeling well or can’t shake off cold and flu symptoms come in and talk to us about what we have that can ease them.
Let us know any other ideas you have that can help keep everyone healthy this winter.