Combat Cold & Flu This Winter With Early Preparation…
If you’re like me, you love summer! The warm mornings and evenings. The goodness given by the sun. The opportunity to visit beaches and soak up the benefits of salt water. And if you are like me, you dread the first sign that things are cooling down! The mornings get fresher, its darker earlier in the evening, and there may be a need for an extra layer of clothing. Im shivering just thinking about it!
Colds and flu have already started popping up, and we’ve definitely seen an increase in extra sniffling and coughing. With the first signs of illness appearing, I thought it was time to talk about what you can do now to prepare for Jack Frost’s arrival in a couple of months.
Firstly, check your diet! As the cooler weather comes around it can be easy to turn to comforting, stodgy foods instead of all the fresh, healthy choices, we tend to go for during summer. I hear all the time, “Its too cold for salad and vegetables.” Falling into this trap is doing yourself a disservice! Some basic tips include eating 4-5 portions of fruit and veg per day, the brighter the better as they generally contain higher levels of Vitamin C. You may also need extra protein during winter to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Establish an exercise routine. Keeping active is important during winter so getting into the habit of exercising more regularly now will make it easier to continue once the weather turns colder. Exercise will boost circulation which helps to send immune cells around the body to search out pathogens. People’s mood in winter can become a little lower. Exercise helps to release feel-good hormones called endorphins. A mix of weight training, cardio (low to moderate intensity with some high intensity) and yoga, will see that all bases are covered.
Sleep! And not just sleep, but sleep well! Sleep is vital for energy levels, mood and the immune system. Get into the habit of going to bed a little earlier to ensure you get your all important 7-8 hours of sleep. You’ll definitely feel the benefit when the cold weather is upon us!
Vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies. Once all three of the above are taken care of, we may then want to look at boosting our body’s defence against illness via supplementation. I always recommend people boost their Vitamin C intake. Ideally from whole food sources like citrus fruits etc. When supplementing Vitamin C, an excellent choice is Camu Camu Organic Superfood Powder by Loving Earth. It contains over 200 times more Vitamin C than an orange.
Vitamin D. Extremely important for supporting the immune system. During winter, we more than likely don’t see as much sun so our body can become deficient. Making a conscious effort to get some daily sun on the face and neck for as little as 10 minutes, is a natural way to absorb Vitamin D. If supplementation is required, I recommend no more than 400IU a day.
Zinc. When it comes to minerals, zinc is one of the most important for immune function. If you’ve got a healthy, varied diet with plenty of nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), then you should be getting enough.
Echinacea. A good quality echinacea herbal supplement can help to ease cold and flu symptoms, but i like to start loading up on it beforehand to assist the strength and health of my immune system throughout the winter months.
So as the saying goes, prevention is the best form of medicine! Start boosting your immune system now to avoid getting struck down this winter. As we all know, any sickness or illness can lead to inconsistency with training and nutritional habits and this is the last thing we want to happen in pursuit of a health or fitness goal!