After one of the hottest summers on record, the dreaded winter months have come around. (We never thought it would happen!) You probably came to terms with this after last weekend, when you found yourself turning on the heating or packing away the summer wardrobe. So, while you resist pulling out the scarves and woolly beanies, we have some valuable winter health and wellness tips for you to stay healthy and achieve a flu-free winter.
Boost your immune system
Soup is the ultimate health food for the winter season. With soup varieties containing ingredients such as lentils, beans, kale and carrots, soup is the perfect way to get nutrients to fight off infection and maintain a strong immune system.
Plus, don’t forget to add garlic! Studies have shown that garlic, a staple ingredient, is key to reducing the risk of becoming sick. Compounds have been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses that cause the common cold or flu.
With the change of season, it’s quite possible to forget to drink water, but we should be having the same amount we would normally consume in summer. This is because water helps kidney flush out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies. Plus, with heating, the air is drier, which will dry up your nose, eyes and mouth. To protect you from getting ill, these need to be moist to help provide a mucosal barrier defence against bacteria and viruses.
If you already have a cold or flu, drinking water is important to help counteract any dehydration you may experience from sweating or high fevers.
Stop the shivers
Yes, the legend is true – keeping warm can help you from becoming sick. We are likely to feel the cold snap, especially after we have experienced a mild autumn. Feeling cold weakens the immune system, therefore, as we move into colder months, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecast and prepare yourself for cooler conditions. In addition to the obvious of layering and wearing a coat, wearing a hat will make a big difference to keeping warm as our bodies can lose up to 30 percent body heat through our heads.
Sweat it out
Did you know that exercising can decrease your chances of getting sick? Working out boosts your immune system, by producing white blood cells to combat infections. Another good reason to lace up the trainers. If you are already sick, you won’t necessarily have to stop exercising but maybe take it slightly easier in the gym. However, if you have an underlying medical condition such as asthma, heart disease, or other medical illnesses, then it is best to check with a doctor first before exercising while you are sick.
Boost your defences with CurraNZ
Taking vitamin supplements is an important part of staying healthy in the winter months, particularly as we don’t get the amount of sunlight exposure that generates Vitamin D production, which is crucial for our immune system to function properly.
It can also be hard to get the higher levels of vitamins you need if you’re not eating enough of the right fruits and vegetables in a day. Blackcurrants contain antioxidants and anthocyanins which can help strengthen the immune system, provide a viral defence and ease flu symptoms. (Now you know why, Lemsip have a blackcurrant flavour!)
Vitamin C is also an immune-boosting supplement staple and, while blackcurrants do contain high levels of vitamin C, the balance of nutrients in CurraNZ concentrates anthocyanins over vitamin C. Therefore, continuing to boost your vitamin C intake from other sources is advisable.
Blackcurrants also offer anti-viral and anti-microbial properties to help the body ward off infections. In one study New Zealand blackcurrant extract proved hugely effective in ‘disinfecting’ the body’s cells when exposed to four strains of Influenza virus.
A single capsule of CurraNZ is highly concentrated and delivers the equivalent of 85 blackcurrants, so taking one capsule a day will certainly help boost immunity and stay well over the colder months. One study showed that blackcurrant supplements enhanced the immune response in people who exercised regularly. They could also train harder for longer periods of time.