Thanks go out to our guest, nutritional therapist, Eva Humphries (DipION, mBANT, CNHC), who was kind enough to share some of her expertise with this round-up of the latest science on staying well this winter.
From the beauty that snow brings to treasured family times at Christmas, winter has so much going for it. Sadly, there is one down side: that pesky cold and flu season.
Whether you need something to soothe a sore throat or just require a few tips and tricks to stave off that office cold, supplements and even some kitchen cupboard staples can be of use.
Get an immune boost with garlic
A study by the Garlic Centre in East Sussex found once daily garlic supplementation between November and February to be effective in reducing the number of colds (1). Those who took garlic supplements experienced half as many colds and even if they did get infected, they were less likely to suffer as long.A recent study by the University of Florida echoed these findings, noting the ability of garlic to stimulate the immune system, akin to an immune boost (2).To get the most out of garlic’s flu-fighting properties, try taking the Just For Tummies high strength Garlic tablets; with their antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, you’re going a long way towards scaring off those winter sniffles.
Put thyme to the test
The antimicrobial and antiviral effects of the herb thyme are well documented.
A study by the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, tested thyme against 120 pathogens, amongst them antibiotic resistant strains, and found thyme to be effective in inhibiting their growth (3).
This finding is a big deal for two reasons:
1.When you are ill, the last thing you want is for the bacteria or virus that made you ill to spread. This would make your symptoms far worse. According to this study, thyme stops the spread of pathogens so it can contribute to fighting that cold or sore throat at a quicker rate.
2.If you get very ill and are prescribed antibiotics, ideally those antibiotics need to work. Bacteria are evolving and certain ones are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Thyme was even effective against the antibiotic resistant bacteria in this study.
For a cold busting thyme tonic, add a couple of sprigs of the herb to tea or hot water and lemon.
Not sitting in an office full of ill people is one way to avoid getting infected. Thanks to research, we now know that getting outdoors for an early morning or lunchtime walk may have additional benefits for preventing the common cold. Even if an infection does occur, taking part in moderate-intensity exercise such as walking or jogging can help you recover as much as 3 days quicker (4).
Get help from gut bacteria
When it comes to the immune system, beneficial bacteria that live in the gut of healthy individuals have a positive effect. The European Review of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences published a study in 2013 detailing how these bacteria train and enhance the immune system, improving our ability to deal with infections.
Thus it is no wonder that probiotic supplements, like the Just For Tummies Live Bacteria that contain the particularly effective infection-fighting strains Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, can provide a helping hand against coughs and colds.
A study published in the prestigious European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that probiotic supplementation can reduce the incidence and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. More and more research is showing that the answer to preventing the common cold, flu and tonsillitis amongst many others, may well be in the gut. So stock up on those Live Bacteria capsules and stay well this winter!
Eat the rainbow
According to research carried out by the University of Auckland in 2016, flavonoids (colour pigments found in plants) may reduce your odds of catching a cold or cough by up to 33% (8). If you do already have a cold, flavonoids may reduce the duration of illness by 40%. Flavonoids are found in apples, tomatoes, peppers, onions and berries as well as in good quality red wine.
However, before you pop that bottle of red open and call it cough medicine, it is worth noting that a variety of flavonoids are required. This means eating at least 5 different coloured vegetables and 2 fruits a day.
Eva Humphries DipION, mBANT, CNHC is a Midlands-based registered nutritional therapist, speaker, columnist and founder of the health and wellbeing site www.wholefoodwarrior.co.uk.
Having become disillusioned with the diet and weight loss industries, Eva translates the latest science on various health- related topics to promote evidence-based nutrition.
She believes the gut plays a central role to wellbeing and regularly focuses on digestive health in her nutritional therapy clinic
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