Whilst winter may finally be drawing to a close, that does not mean that cold and flu season just goes away entirely, as there is always the risk of becoming ill at any time of the year. A common cold, whilst generally not life threatening, can really make you feel awful and can take a great deal of getting over. When you suffer with a cold, your throat hurts, your head hurts, you struggle to breathe, you feel nauseous, and you want to do virtually nothing other than curl up into a ball and feel sorry for yourself. Obviously the risk of suffering from a cold is much greater during the winter months because we spend more time indoors in enclosed spaces with people, plus we have our doors and windows closed, so germs have nowhere to go. Unfortunately we cannot quarantine ourselves all year long to ensure we avoid contracting a common cold, but there are things we can do to lower the risk of suffering from said cold. Here are some useful tips:
Eat more greens
Whilst fruits and vegetables are very important for our health and well-being, when it comes to staying fit and healthy, green leafy vegetables have really come into their own. Green leafy vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach, are loaded full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that the body thrives upon. The nutrients contained in these vegetables help to strengthen the immune system, which helps ensure we fight off viruses before they have chance to develop. The stronger our immune systems, the healthier we are.
Get more sleep
The human immune system has been proven to function more effectively when we have had plenty of sleep, which is why it’s important that we aim for around 8 hours of sleep per night, and that we get ourselves into a regular sleeping schedule each night. Numerous studies have found a direct correlation between suppressed immunity and a lack of sleep, so as if you needed any more excuses to go to bed earlier each night, now you have yet another. Studies have found that people that regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, are around three times more likely to contract a common cold than those who get more than 7 hours per night.
Don’t forget your vitamin D
When we think of vitamins and our immunity, it is often vitamin C that instantly springs to mind, and rightly so. Vitamin C is a very powerful immune-strengthening vitamin that helps us to ward off all kinds of illnesses and ailments, but it is certainly not the only vitamin out there that can do us plenty of good. Many experts actually recommend switching vitamin C for vitamin D, or at least prioritizing vitamin D instead, as it has been proven boost the immune system, whilst substantially lowering the risk of becoming ill in the process. Another reason why we should consider supplementing with vitamin D is because many of us do not get enough of it during the winter. The body synthesizes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, but during the winter, sunlight is scarce. Vitamin C however, is available in all kinds of healthy foods and drinks, so if you eat your recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, chances are you are already getting enough vitamin C anyways. Vitamin D however, is not as readily available, so supplementation is recommended.
Wash your hands regularly
When you go to the bathroom, always wash your hands. When we say you should wash your hands, we mean properly wash them, not just rinse them under cold water. Our hands are constantly being exposed to germs from all kinds of places, some of which are very unlikely. Bathrooms are breeding grounds for germs, kitchens can be, money harbours bacteria, and contact points like door and cupboard handles also breed germs. When you touch these germs however, they are then on your hands, so you will pass the germs onto whatever you touch. If you regularly wash your hands with warm water, and anti-bacterial hand soap however, your hands will remain germ-free, and you will become less likely to get sick.
Another useful tip for avoiding a common cold is to gargle, either with water, or with a disinfectant mouthwash. Studies have found that people that gargle every single day, are likely to contract close to 40% fewer colds than individuals that don’t. Experts believe that the reason why gargling works is because it destroys harmful bacteria in the mouth and throat, plus it can clear viruses and mucus, which could potentially become infected.
Supplement with Glutamine
L-Glutamine is a very popular bodybuilding supplement that plays a key role in muscular growth and repair. As well as that however, not only can glutamine help you improve your physique, but, as it turns out, it can also help keep you healthier. Glutamine has been found to significantly strengthen the immune system, which will help you to avoid common colds and other similar ailments. Glutamine powder is not very expensive, it is easy to consume, and its health benefits are backed up by proven scientific research and evidence.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
When it comes to staying fit and healthy, not only should you consume plenty of nutrient-rich food and drink on a daily basis, but you should also ensure that you get plenty of exercise, and lead as healthy a lifestyle as you can. Exercise strengthens the immune system and helps to prevent and fight off colds and other viruses, and healthy living just generally helps keep you fitter and healthier. Try to eat clean, drink plenty of water, avoid too much alcohol, get plenty of exercise, and ideally avoid smoking, substance abuse, and other things that could potentially be construed as unhealthy.