Although winter is not yet upon us, the reality is that busy people like yourself don’t have time for something like a cold getting in the way of your work, play and most importantly of all – your training! So today I have put together some simple things you can do to help prevent getting sick in the first place, or if the sickness has already set in, how to beat it fast?
Tips for preventing cold and flu:
- Include garlic in your diet. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and has an amazing bolstering effect upon your immune system, allowing you to fight off the common cold and its symptoms.
- If you feel a cold coming on avoid mucus-forming foods such as sugar and dairy products.
- Avoid stimulants containing caffeine such as coffee and colas. These stress your nervous system and deplete your immune function
- Avoid alcohol at all costs. Alcohol is extremely damaging to the immune system, with your body’s energy focuses on breaking down and expelling the alcohol rather than fighting off a potential cold.
- Exercise and get some fresh air. Exercise supports your immune system and the fresh air helps your lymphatic system to transport protective immune cells around the body. If you feel a cold coming on however, pushing yourself too hard in your training will actually weaken your immune system in the short term, allowing attacking viruses and bacteria to gain a foothold.
- Getting plenty of sleep will allow your body to restore itself, including its immune system.
Tips for shortening a cold and its symptoms once you’ve caught it:
- Taking a Vitamin C supplement strengthens your immune system. Consume 2000-4000mg daily as required in the form of a quality supplement – there is no way to ingest enough of the Vitamin to fight a cold through diet alone.
- Drink lots and lots of water. This will support the liver and the kidneys which are working hard to remove toxins and fight the illness.
- Supplementing with Echinacea can greatly improve immune function as shown in a 2007 study by The University of Connecticut which showed that taking Echinacea shortened the duration of a cold by a day and a half and reduced the odds of protracting a cold by 60%. In the case of a virus (as opposed to a bacterium), Olive Leaf Extract is a potent supplement to take as well.
- Colds thrive in a dry environment, so a hot steamy shower or bath can be of use, particularly if you make an effort to breath the steam in. Don’t visit a public steam room however, as this well put those around you at a large risk of catching your cold.
- Zinc interferes with the reproductive processes of rhinoviruses, which make up about 80% of common colds. Taking a zinc supplement, or at very least eating a piece of lean red meat will help to increase zinc levels and fight off that irritating cold.
So don’t let the flu get the best of you, look after yourself to ensure you can work hard, play hard and train hard, all year round.
Yours in health,