Good Health Is Good Business

Ward Off Winter Colds With These Top Health Tips

No one likes being sick. It’s time off work, away from your business, quarantined from your family, avoided by friends, and certainly not a help when it comes to achieving a better work/life balance. Research shows that adults will experience a cold about 2-5 times a year and children can fall victim 5-10 times a year. More than 200 different viruses can cause colds, so defend yourself this Winter with out top health tips because good health is good business.

Get a Massage!

Massage is not just an indulgence, it’s a way to stay healthy! Regular 20-minute, moderate-pressure rubdowns decrease the body’s level of cortisol, a stress hormone that destroys your “natural killer cells”. These cells act as your immune system’s first line of defense against an invading illness, so protect your protectors and head to your nearest massage therapist.

Go to the Gym!

Studies indicate that people who do moderate exercise such as walking on most days of the week experience up to 50% less sick time than those who don’t. Not only are active people likely to have stronger immune systems, protecting them against viruses in the first place, but they also may suffer less-severe symptoms and recover more quickly when illness does strike. But be careful not to over do it because long periods of high exertion can lower your defenses.

Hit the Sauna

Inhaling hot, humid air over 80 degrees celsius will heat your body up much like a fever does. And, like a fever, this high temperature will destroy any viruses in your system and ramp up your white blood cell production to combat any illness. Your blood circulation will also improve which will in turn boost your immune system. The ideal amount of time for a sauna session is 15-20 minutes but less if you’re sick at the time (and be sure to bring in a bottle of water!)

If you don’t have access to a sauna, use a humidifier to make the air more humid or run a hot shower with the bathroom door closed. Sit in the bathroom and just breathe. Sauna or shower, put a drop or two of essential oils on a plate to add aromatherapy to the mix.

Arm Yourself with Superfoods

    • Cinnamon – This Wintry spice has been shown to regulate blood sugar, inhibit cancer cells and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Sprinkle it on your breakfast or in your morning coffee for a quick dose.
    • Coconut – Coconut milk straddles the line between good food and bad food because of its extremely high saturated fat content but it’s health benefits are many and there’s more to coconut than just its milk. Coconut flakes, coconut milk and cream, and coconut oil contain lots of an antiviral, antibacterial fatty acid called lauric acid—one of the immune-boosters babies get from breast milk. Coconut also helps maintain a balance of lipids in the body which keeps your cholesterol in check, not to mention its antioxidant qualities. Put a twist on the traditional Chicken Soup by mixing a can of coconut milk with chicken stock, grated ginger, spring onions, basil and chicken breast – add some chopped red chillies for an added sinus-clearing kick.
    • Nuts – Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts and hazelnuts are all rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as those miraculous antioxidants. Walnuts are one of the best vegetarian sources of the omega-3 fatty acids that fight obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Swap your jam, marg or peanut butter and blend your own mix of nuts with a little olive oil, milk or water for a fresh nut butter to spread on your morning toast.
    • Olive Oil – The health benefits of olive oil are numerous. Its monounsaturated fats reduce inflammation, its phenols are cancer-fighting antioxidants and its Vitamin E lowers the risk of heart disease, protects skin from damaging agents, and prevents nerve damage. Toss with vegetables before roasting, drizzle it over your creamy soups or use it in pesto.
    • Garlic – This vegetable is packed with allicin, an antibiotic that has been shown to prevent complications from a cold in some research so go garlic crazy in your recipes this Winter. Mince and add to some plain hummus, rub it over toasted bread, or use it on a steak for added flavour.

Load Up On Vitamin C

Vitamin C is often thought of as this mythical wonder vitamin that will keep colds at bay if you take enough supplements or drink enough orange juice. The truth is, while Vitamin C has a lot of fantastic health benefits, it’s not necessarily going to save you from catching a cold. What it can do is help keep your immune system strong so if you do fall ill, you’ll recover much faster than you would without it. Plus, it helps the body manufacture collagen, metabolise a protein-building amino acid and form hormones that control stress levels, digestion and reproduction. It is also found to be a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against cancer-causing free radicals.

A daily intake of 100 mg is the most efficient dosage to saturate tissues, but you can double that to also saturate your blood. And, don’t just look to oranges and supplements as your only sources of this wunder vitamin. Kiwi, blackcurrant, grapefruit, guava, persimmon, mango and papaya are all excellent sources of Vitamin C. Some lesser known sources are garlic, tomatoes, ginger, onions, beets, broccoli, kale, bell peppers and cabbage.

Sleep!

Running on empty is the easiest way to catch a cold, so make sure you’re not over-stressing your body by skipping out on sleep. The optimal number of hours each night is between 7 and 9. Those who only get 5-6 hours risk a wealth of health risks such as reduced immunity, frequent colds and infections, difficulty making decisions, depression, obesity, increased risk of heart attack, inflammation, high blood pressure and the list goes on. If you have trouble sleeping a full 8 hours at a time, daytime naps can help fill in the gap. But don’t think you can simply catch up on the weekend, consistency is key for sustainable energy.

Drink Up!

The body uses fluids to filter liquid waste that accumulates, so keeping hydrated will help keep your system in good working order. Water is ideal, but you may also want to try tea or juice. Warm fluids like broth, soup or tea help break up congestion and can be another great way to get your fluids if you’re not a water lover. Green tea is a strong antioxidant and natural diuretic. Avoid dehydrating drinks like like alcohol, coffee and soda — and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a drink. The amount of water you should consume daily is still debated, but the consensus is that you should aim for 1-2 litres each day (roughly 1-2 sport-size water bottles).

If you’re someone that has a hard time drinking enough, carry a refillable water bottle around with you as a reminder, keep a glass at your desk, add lemon or lime to make it more appealing, and/or eat water-rich foods like tomatoes (94% water), watermelon (92%), eggs (white 88.5%; yolk 50%).

Wash Your Hands!

An obvious one but, nevertheless, something people tend to not do as much as they should. Wash your hands more often and you’ll be 24% less like to get a respiratory illness and 45% to 50% less likely to get a stomach bug, according to the World Health Organization. Antibacterial hand sanitizers are great if you’re on the go, but nothing beats good ‘ol warm water and soap. So ward off colds by washing your hands frequently — and not just before you leave the bathroom!

There is no magic defense or cure for the common cold but staying healthy and being health conscious is your best bet. Remember when you do get sick, give yourself adequate time to recover or you’ll find yourself miserable for longer or back in the same state very soon.

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