28. Feb 2019

Stay healthy throughout the winter

It’s the season of shivering cold temperatures, snow storms, and icy roads. This means it’s also the season of viruses and bacteria. In the cold season, these nasty germs are a particular bother for our immune system. The following tips and tricks will help to keep runny noses and sore throats at bay, and can all be easily integrated into everyday life.

The manner in which we fashion our daily diet, greatly influences our bodys immune system. Specific foods such as fatty meats and fried foods, lead to stress for our organism and so make you more susceptible to infections. Consciously selected, high quality foods support our bodys health though the valuable nutrients they contain. The basis for this is a balanced diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, high grade protein, and vegetable fats.

Food for the immune system

Wintertime is stew-time! Treat yourself to strengthening, warming soups or stews made from root vegetables, potatoes, chickpeas, beans, and healing spices such as thyme, sage, curcuma, or ginger. Ginger is especially potent when it is used to make tea and it can even help to prevent infections. People who dont like its somewhat spicy and tangy flavour, can refine the teas flavour with some honey and lemon juice.

Calculated avoidance of the common cold

In winter, it doesnt matter which public transport you use, whether its the tram, train, or bus, everywhere people are sneezing and blowing their nose. We are constantly being exposed to a true flood of bacteria and viruses. Flu-like infections and other winter-typical diseases are most commonly transferred via tiny, airborne droplets or by touch (smear-infection). This means, wash your hands frequently and always bring along a small bottle of hand disinfectant. When someone next to you sneezes or coughs, turn away and try to stay away by at least an armlength. Especially in winter, the range of regional fruits and vegetables available in supermarkets is rather scarce. This makes it even harder to incorporate enough vitamins and minerals into our daily diets. A deficiency is the most dangerous predisposition when it comes to getting a cold! Vitamin C and zinc both help to prevent the common cold. However, vitamin C cannot always be ideally absorbed by the body. For this reason, especially during the flu season, its recommended to take preparations which contain vitamin C and bioactive plant substances. These extend the availability of the vitamin in the body. Zinc does not only ensure for nice nails, skin, and hair; it also reduces oxidative stress and together with vitamin C it represents the perfect combination against the common cold. 

Fresh air and warmth keep you fit and healthy

The following must by said in advance: When you are feeling under the weather, leave your running shoes in the cabinet. Doing sport whilst suffering from a flu-like disease overstrains the bodys circulatory system and may even lead to a dangerous heart muscle inflammation. If its just a bit of a runny nose or a slightly sore throat youre suffering from, you should be fine if you stick to some mild endurance training. Whilst healthy, its important to wear warm clothes and spend at least 20 minutes a day in the fresh air. This stimulates the immune system and so makes you more resilient to pathogenic bugs. Sport stimulates the circulation and so leads to a better distribution of defensive antibodies throughout the whole body. When the bodys immune system encounters these antibodies, it gets put on high alert. Moreover, time spent in the fresh air does a great job of clearing the mind. A free spirit means a happy spirit, and people who are happy, fall ill far less. A visit to the sauna in winter is a powerful booster for the immune system. The romans already knew how to exploit this pleasant warmth. If applied correctly, frequent visits to the sauna not only relax the muscles, they can also strengthen ones immune defences. Switching between warm and cold is especially important in this regard. Sauna beginners should start out with more moderate sauna visits and should ideally be accompanied by someone with experience in this field. When applied incorrectly, a visit to the sauna can lead to circulatory problems and thus any positive effects become annulled.

I caught a cold! What now?

Sometimes all the caution in world doesnt help and a nasty bug gets the upper hand; causing a runny nose, cough, and fever. If your physician prescribes you antibiotics, for example because of bronchitis or bacterial tonsillitis, it is important that you take specific, high dose probiotics during and after the intake of the antibiotic. This is important because antibiotics dont only kill off the pathogenic germs, they also destroy the natural bacterial flora of the gut. This then makes you more susceptible to other diseases. Probiotics can make sure that this vicious cycle never gets started. Moreover, there are many helpful household remedies such as special bath additives, inhalation of ethereal oils, as well as herbal teas. A steam inhalation has an expectorant effect and frees a clogged nose. Fill a pot with hot water and add several drops of ethereal oils. Suitable oils are for example: thyme oil, eucalyptus oil, or peppermint oil. When buying such oils, make sure that they are 100% pure ethereal oils. When suffering from fever, consider taking a pleasant footbath instead a normal bath, as this may be an unnecessary burden for the body.

 
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