Winter wellness – Ways to avoid troublesome bugs

With winter well on its way it’s hard not to think about catching a cold (or even influenza), once or several times during the season.

So, what can be done to reduce the risk of falling victim to these bugs.

Firstly, our immune system does not get enough credit. It is made up of a variety of defence cells, tissues and organs which work together to protect the body from infection. In addition, we have enzymes and peptides specifically designed to fight off any unwanted bacteria.

If you do become sick, or even cut yourself, the body reacts by initiating chemical responses such as fever, swelling and inflammation to stop the spread and begin the healing process.

So, what can we do to look after and enhance our immune systems?

Hydrate
Fever, runny noses, and coughs can increase the risk of dehydration. Try to avoid drinking fruit juices as these contain a large amount of sugar; diluting them half and half with water is
a better option. Tea, water, soups are all good sources of fluid.

Avoid alcohol as this will slow down your recovery. Drinks such as diluted Gatorade or Powerade may be useful if you have diarrhoea or are vomiting to replace electrolytes.

Reduce sugar
As mentioned, reduce the amount of refined sugar you are consuming from processed foods. Bad bacteria feeds on the sugar and can make symptoms worse.

Eat a variety of fruit and vege:
These contain essential vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy. Vitamins C, E and Beta-Carotene are antioxidants which mop up any free radicals which damage cells and membranes.

Exercise:
Aim for at least 30 minutes a day. Try to vary the type of exercise including cardio and weights but don’t over train as this can also damage your immune system.

Sleep:
Make sure you are getting adequate sleep and try to avoid too much screen time before bed as this can reduce the quality of your sleep.

By Kim Jones, Nutritionist, Total Nutrition and Health

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