Our quick response tips for when you’re getting a cold but have a party to go to!
It’s no surprise that lots of us get colds & sniffles in the festive party period. Cold temperatures coupled with increased socialising, less exercise and a diet that’s, well, suboptimal mean we’re much more likely to come down with something in the winter.
Fortunately, if you feel yourself getting ill and have a party to go to, these expert tips can help you fight back (or prevent) the dreaded winter sniffles and stay in party shape all through silly season.
Feeling Less Bad for Less Time
The frustrating thing about feeling unwell is that many of the symptoms aren’t caused by the bug, but by the way our bodies fight infection.
Many of our symptoms – like blocked noses, sore throats & headaches – are caused by inflammation that is a direct result of our bodies’ defence mechanisms. So when we feel the sniffles coming we should focus our efforts on two things:
- Fuelling the fight – the quicker our defence forces can deal with the infection, the quicker we can feel like ourselves again.
- Reducing the side effects – just because battle is raging, doesn’t mean we have to be suffering.
The top tips in this guide are all about using food & lifestyle as medicine to achieve one or both of these goals.
Foods to Fuel the Fight
At the first sign of a cold, focus your diet around immunity supporting vitamins & minerals – Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and selenium are key – that are used by our defence systems. Supplementation is an option, but remember that food state nutrients are more easily absorbed, so use food where you can.
You can get 100% of your daily vitamin C from ½ red pepper, 1 kiwi, 1 orange or a FOGA Plantshake!
Vitamin C Rich Foods – most fruits, colourful vegetables
Zinc Rich Foods – cashews, pumpkin seeds, baked beans, animal products
Magnesium Rich Foods – chocolate, spinach, almonds, avocado
Polyphenols to Power Back
Dr Jenna Macciochi (author of The Science of Staying Well) says many “plant phytochemicals including polyphenols can help turn up our cellular repair mechanisms to get us back on track.” Spices like Ginger & Turmeric (which you can find in a few FOGA Plantshakes!) help to fight inflammation and have you in party shape ASAP.
The micronutrient & phytonutrient cocktails (literally “plant-nutrient”) found in real foods have powerful combination effects that aren’t replicated in pills. Eating turmeric root has been shown to be more effective than curcumin pills. So try and get your nutrients in a food state for maximum absorption.
Hydrate Yourself to Protect Yourself
Staying hydrated during the festive party season has many benefits, from feeling & looking your best to helping your body protect itself.
Feeling dehydrated while coming down with a bug will intensify symptoms so it’s essential to keep drinking hydrating water, herbal teas, smoothies & soups.
Our bodies need water to carry out all their essential functions – including fighting off infection. It can be tempting to prop yourself up with coffee when you start feeling run down, but try to avoid liquids that can dehydrate you. Caffeine and artificial drinks won’t really help, nor will booze… Reach for herbal teas, warm water with lemon & ginger or mint.
Gargle Salt – It Really Does Work
Old Wive’s Tales normally come from somewhere, and gargling salt is no different. It isn’t pleasant, but it does work to alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat.
The high salt concentration pulls fluid from the tissues in the throat, flushing out viruses & bacteria and sometimes even reducing inflammation.
Our family recipe is ½ tsp of salt into ¼ glass of warm water and gargle for 5-10 seconds each time.
Get outdoors into the light
Research shows that people who don’t get enough Vitamin D are much more likely to suffer from an upper respiratory infection than those who do . This is because Vitamin D is a key immune nourishing hormone-vitamin, reducing our capacity to fight infections.
One of the reasons we often feel depressed or down in the winter is due to SAD. This is caused by lack of light to the pineal gland, and we need to get that light through our eyes. So even in the depth of winter when there’s only 6-8 hours of daylight, experts recommend that we need to get outside during that day.
Getting outside into the sunshine is a simple & effective tool to feel less bad, for less time!
A good night’s sleep enables our bodies to both fight infection more easily, and recover faster. A 15 year Sleep and Immune Function study showed that sleep “exert[s] a strong regulatory influence on immune functions” including improved performance of specialised Killer T cells.
“Our findings show that sleep has the potential to enhance the efficiency of T cell responses, which is especially relevant in light of the high prevalence of sleep disorders and conditions characterized by impaired sleep, such as depression, chronic stress, aging, and shift work” or – they didn’t say – Christmas Party Season!
Power Through Party Season with No Bugs
Putting these top tips into action can help you stay in perfect party shape all season long. Keep eating a diet that’s rich in a variety of complex fruits & veggies – they’re going to give you that powerful cocktail of vitamins & phytochemicals that help you stay your best. Get outside daily & stick to a sleep routine as best you can.
Stay hydrated, and be choiceful about your drinks – caffeine & booze both dehydrate, try to limit yourself to one or the other during festivities. Your daily FOGA is hydrating & rich in 27 essential micronutrients plus phyto-nutrients; a great way to keep yourself firing on all cylinders and to fuel the fight if you need to!