It seems Winter is definitely working its way in swiftly, bringing all those common ailments that go with it. So time to get armoured up and prepare yourself to fight them all off as best you can.
You may not be able to avoid the common cold or flu, but you can sure do your best to prepare yourself to be ready for it and to fight it off well. Okay, so it’s not practical to go on flights, trains or public transport with masks, as some do in other countries, and often, if the air is constantly circulated around as it is on transport and any conditioning systems, the chances are still pretty standard to catch something.
What we can do however is protect ourselves, as much as we can, by building up our immunity system. With good defence, we can save a mild cough getting out of control and turning more sinister to something more complicated and dangerous. For those who suffer with bronchitis, sinus or any respiratory problems, a simple cold can easily bring on a bundle of other problems.
So be ready and start by doing all you can. We all know the basics, that even the commercials bring to us – if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands. Carrying antibacterial wipes or gel can always come in handy for wiping gadgets and surfaces used regularly. All this is a good start on the outside but what you also need to work on is the inside.
Some top foods to build up the immunity system are garlic, nuts, citrus fruits, berries, vegetables, fish and yoghurt.
Citrus Fruits – Most people seem to turn to citrus fruits when they have a cold, as they contain Vitamin C which helps build up the immune system by increasing, it is thought, the production of white blood cells which are important to fight off infections. However, prevention is always better than cure. Having a regular daily dose of Vitamin C will always help. Vitamin C is one of the vitamins that cannot be stored by the body, so a daily dose is required. Although you may think the citrus fruits contain the most Vitamin C, it has been found that the average red bell pepper contains twice as much vitamin C as citrus and is also good for healthy skin and eyes with its Beta Carotene. So adding some to the daily eating plan is a great idea!
Garlic – Goes way back in history where it was recognised in its value for fighting infections. It is also thought to lower blood pressure and slow down the hardening of arteries. Its immune boosting power is said to come from the concentration of its super compound, allicin.
Yoghurt – Those that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like those of Greek yoghurt (there’s a surprise) may stimulate the immune system to help fight disease. Avoid the flavoured yoghurts full of sugar and flavour your own instead with some lovely Greek honey.
Nuts – Vitamin E is most definitely key to a healthy immune system. Nuts such as almonds are high in the vitamin, along with healthy fats and even a small half a cup serving can provide nearly all of the required daily amount of Vitamin E.
Fish – Varieties of shellfish that contains Zinc should be included in your diet, but not more than the recommended daily dose of approximately 11g for men and 8gm for women. Too much may inhibit the immunity system function.
Poultry – Our famous Avgolemono chicken soup, ideal for when we need comforting, whether ill or not, is actually packed with Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps the body manufacture chemical reactions needed in the body to work efficiently. It helps with the formation of new healthy red blood cells.
The chicken stock from boiling chicken bones contain gelatin, chondroitin and other nutrients needed for immunity and healing. See, Yiayia always knows best!
Along with winter colds and flu, often come the winter aggravated ailments of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Any sports injuries may also trigger off in the winter with damp and cold conditions. All foods and spices that help as anti-inflammatory can make life a little easier, so spice up your food with a little turmeric or ginger or make some spice teas if you don’t fancy it in your cooking. These are well known for their anti-inflammatory purposes.
Eat right and be ready to fight!
Love and Sparkles