During winter it seems you’re endlessly dodging coughing colleagues, sniffling family members and winter rain all whilst trying to keep on top of the everyday! We’ve got the expert tips from naturopath, Emma Sutherland to help you beat the winter blues by overcoming the risk factors as well as super-foods to bolster your immune system.
Aussie women are the real target of the dreaded winter cold and flu season, with a new study revealing that stressed out, overworked and rundown mums are compromising their own health, work and social life to stay home and take care of their sick children.
Four in five women (78%) believed they were at major risk of catching a cold or flu from a sick person at home, compared to just 65% of men, and a further 75% of women said that being overworked, rundown or stressed was a major risk factor, significantly higher than just 59% of men.
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. She said high levels of stress lead to immune suppression, increasing the body’s likelihood of catching a cold or flu.
“Mums are usually the primary caretaker in the household and very often have to juggle the various pressures of everyday life. Between keeping their productivity and energy levels up at work, managing the household chores and taking care of sick children – winter can be a very intense period for women,” said Ms. Sutherland.
“Relaxation methods, good quality sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise, washing your hands often, and boosting your immunity with natural supplements will all help you fight infections.”
Cold and Flu Risk Factors:
Being overworked, run-down or stressed:
Stress increases the levels of adrenal gland hormones, including adrenalin and cortisol. Among other things, these hormones slow down white blood cell formation and function. The effects of these hormones lead to suppression of immune function, leaving the body susceptible to infections.
Not eating the right foods:
If you don’t develop a strong resistance then despite all your efforts, you will probably get sick. Foods that support a strong immune system include berries, plums, raisons, prunes, pomegranate, sweet potato, broccoli, artichokes, apples, carrots, tomatoes and kiwifruit. The key is to eat beneficial foods on a daily basis, not just occasionally!
Experiencing a change in the weather:
Many people catch colds at the change of season and the sudden shift in environmental factors such as temperature, wind and humidity can go a long way in providing ideal conditions for germs to thrive.
Not keeping fit:
Keeping fit is vital if you want to avoid getting sick! Exercising floods our body with natural endorphins which have the opposite effect of our stress hormones – they boost the immune system!
Top 5 Tips to Preventing Colds and Flu:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Eat adequate amounts of protein as it forms the building blocks for your infection fighting antibodies.
4. 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.
5. Studies suggest that moderate exercise is beneficial to strengthen the immune system.
Emma Sutherland uses this recipe jam-packed with super-foods and has it up to four times a week during winter and it’s a really simple way to help stay germ free!
THE REAL BOOST JUICE!
• 1 small beetroot
• 4 carrots
• 1 inch of fresh ginger
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 whole lemon
Get yourself a good juicer and juice in the following order: First carrot, garlic, ginger, beetroot, three remaining carrots then lemon. It really is best if you use organic ingredients as they are far more nutritionally dense. Add to a big glass with a few ice cubes and you will feel amazing and germ free! In terms of foods to help treat colds and flu,
In relation to foods to help bolster the immune system Emma says, “white blood cells require Vitamin C in their fight against infection but they also need the mineral zinc. Zinc can be found in oysters, sunflower seeds, lamb and beef while foods high in Vitamin C include blackcurrants, red chilli, red capsicum, broccoli, kale and lemon.”
“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 Extract 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.”
For more expert advice from Emma head to www.emmasutherland.com.au
Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract RRP: $27.95 available from selected chemists, pharmacies and health food stores nationally..
For more info on Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract head to www.wagnerproducts.com.au