Tuesday 20 March 2018

Seven tips by a nutritional therapist on how to stave off colds and flus

Ireland is in the throes of flu season
Ireland is in the throes of flu season
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Nutritional therapist Alison Cullen says that simple improvements in your habits will help to stave off the cold and flu during the peak season.

Seven hours sleep, plant foods, and a limited alcohol intake can help improve your immune system.

Here, she lists seven tips that can help keep colds and flus away

1. Eat a healthy plant-based diet

Fill your diet with broccoli, cabbage, red fruits such as blackcurrants and strawberries, carrots, turmeric and onions, which contain plenty of immune protecting chemicals. One serving of vegetables can contain over a hundred different phytochemicals - these include flavones, isoflavones, anthocyanins, lignans, indole-3-carbinol, gallates and glucosinolates as well as vitamins and minerals.

2. Drink green tea

It is rich in many chemicals that have been shown to have health protective properties (phytochemicals).

3. Get some gentle exercise

Walking, swimming or cycling for half an hour daily can be very helpful both physically and mentally. Beware that excessive exercise such as that undertaken during extreme training sessions for competitive sporting activities can reduce the immune response, says Alison, who works as nutritional therapist for A.Vogel.

4. Relax

It is very important that people allow themselves time for relaxation and recuperation to fuel themselves through their busy lives. Stress is extremely depleting for the immune system. Getting sufficient time out can allow the nervous system to calm down, reducing the demands on nutrient levels and improving immune function.

5. Sleep tight

Not getting enough sleep lowers your immune function. The body needs a good seven hours kip to help build itself up. Poor sleep over a long period can decrease immune function very quickly.

6. Limit alcohol

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is also bad for your immune cells, which get disorientated and confused just like us!

7. Ditch fatty foods

Having a high fat intake or high cholesterol makes your immune cells lazy.

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