As winter and the colder months draw closer, it is worth thinking about some preventative measures for warding off those horrible cold and flu viruses. We are busy – We are mums – We simply don’t have the time to get sick, and we certainly don’t want our other family members to either!
A recent newspoll survey conducted by Wagner suggests that Aussie women are the real target of winter cold and flu season, with stressed out, overworked mums compromising their own health, work and social life to take care of their sick children. Sydney naturopath and TV presenter Emma Sutherland said the findings highlight the need for women to have a strong, healthy body before the winter months hit, as high levels of stress lead to immune suppression, increasing the body’s likelihood of catching cold or flu.
So what can we do to keep in tip-top shape this winter? Sutherland, shares her top 5 tips for preventing colds and flu:
A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains ensures you get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy immune system. Eat plenty of onion and garlic for their antimicrobial properties to keep germs at bay, and consider taking natural supplements like Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic ExtractTM to help prevent winter colds and flu. Ginger and chilli are warming foods and adding them to your dishes can also be a great immunity booster in the cooler months.
Ensure that you go into the winter months with adequate levels of Vitamin D. Research has shown that people with low Vitamin D get more frequent and more severe colds than people with high levels. As it is a fat soluble vitamin, be careful of eating “low fat” foods as you will be missing out on Vitamin D. Natural sources are full fat dairy, sardines, egg yolks and cod liver oil.
Eat adequate amounts of protein as it forms the building blocks for your infection fighting antibodies. This can be obtained from animal sources such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy foods or from plant sources such as legumes, tofu and tempeh.
Wash your hands often as cold viruses can survive for several hours on hands, tissues, or hard surfaces. A healthy person can contract a virus by touching a contaminated surface, then touching his or her own mouth or nose. Studies demonstrate that touching your nose or eyes with the fingertip area leads to an overloaded immune system and most of the infections of the upper respiratory tract. Keyboards and telephones, particularly when they are shared, are among the most germ-laden places in a home or office and the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat!
Studies suggest that moderate exercise is beneficial to strengthen the immune system. When you exercise you increase blood circulation through your body, therefore circulating antibodies and white blood cells, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it has a chance to spread. A study was done with 50 women divided into exercise and non exercise groups. The exercise group walked briskly 45 minutes for five days a week. The women who walked experienced half as many colds as the non exercise group. Walkers had an increase in natural killer cells from the beginning. Natural killer cells are part of the defence against germs and viruses.
Emma Sutherland – N.D. BHlth SC (CompMed) MATMS, MNHAA – is a successful naturopath and TV presenter and her mission in life is to inspire women to get their mojo back. She was the expert nutritionalist in a premier show on Lifestyle You in 2011 called “Eat Yourself Sexy.” Emma was the resident Naturopath on the show ‘The Daily” in 2010, and is a keynote presenter and private consultant at the exclusive Golden Door Health Retreat. Emma is a fully qualified Naturopath, having completed four years of training in Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Homoeopathy as well as a Bachelor of Health Science. She has completed post-graduate training in women’s health and is also a certified Hypnobirthing instructor. www.emmasutherland.com.au