No one likes having a cold – we all want to get better as quickly as possible, and we all have our own way of doing it. Here, one of the UK’s leading immunologists, Dr Jenna Macciochi, gives her tips on what you might be doing wrong… and what you should actually be doing to help.
If you really want to give your body the energy it needs to fight your bug, you need to rest and have some good quality sleep. Also, if you have a fever, this is an essential part of the immune system’s response to beating bugs, because the infection struggles to multiply at higher body temperatures and fever is actually helping your immune cells to fight the virus. This raised body temperature also increases our demand for energy so getting plenty of rest and nourishing nutrition is paramount. Aim for eight hours of good, interrupted sleep a night, and listen to your body when you feel like a nap.
If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you might be tempted to cheer yourself up with comfort foods or sugary snacks. Your body needs the energy to fight the cold virus, so stick to light warming meals that are easy to digest, such as soups and broths. Ensure you get your daily dose of plant polyphenols (full of antioxidants to help your immune system fight back naturally) by eating lots of vegetables like onion and garlic, which also have anti-inflammatory properties. Also, don’t load up on sugary snacks like cake and biscuits as a ‘treat’, as eating or drinking sugar limits your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin C. There are also many cold and flu products on the market that are full of unnecessary sweeteners, fillers, and synthetic products. Tonic Health (10 sachets for £5.99) is the only natural winter immunity supplement on the market with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Paracetamol is used in some cold and flu drinks to help reduce symptoms such as coughs, sneezes and runny noses. These symptoms may be unpleasant but they are actually a sign of your immune system working hard to expel the virus. When you feel a cold and flu coming on, you need to work with your immune system’s response to the illness, rather than the symptoms, as this will help you recover quicker. A high dose of extra vitamins such as C, D and minerals such as zinc have been shown to help the immune system and speed up recovery. Vitamin C in particular has been shown to reduce the duration and the severity of a cold. The latest scientific studies have shown that high doses at first sign of a cold can speed up your recovery by up to 2 whole days. Now that’s a Tonic worth having in the medicine cabinet. Tonic Health’s blend of vitamins, minerals and real ingredients go straight to helping your immune system, rather than tackling your symptoms. It is also 50% stronger than comparable products in terms of vitamin content. In addition, NHS Guidelines have found that paracetamol drink remedies do little to help recovery from head colds, and says there is little to no evidence that oral decongestants help those suffering from sinusitis.
Tonic Health is available in Lemon & Honey and Elderberry and Blackcurrant
10 sachets for £5.99, 20 sachets for £9.99. Available from Tonic Health.
Find more health related articles here!