This is especially important after travelling on public transport, after going to the bathroom and before eating food. Carry a bottle of alcohol-based hand rub for times when soap and water are not available. If you use the gym it’s also worth cleaning gym equipment with antibacterial wipes before using. Also, try to avoid touching your nose and your eyes as these are the most common places for germs to get in.
Poor sleep is associated with increased susceptibility to the common cold. A 2009 study found that those with less than seven hours of sleep were three times as likely to get a cold as those with eight hours or more.
Research has found that a regular routine of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise may have preventive effects on colds.
They can moisten the air and help ease congestion and coughing.
Fluids may help loosen and clear out mucus, soothe a sore throat, and replace fluid lost due to a fever or runny nose. Smoothies, water, hot teas, and warm soups are all good choices. Green tea may be especially beneficial as it contains antioxidants, which may reduce inflammation. It may also boost the production of antibodies to help fight off the virus. Chicken soup is also a popular traditional remedy. Chicken soup is a great source of fluids and electrolytes which help keep you hydrated.
Honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It soothes sore throats and coughs. One study actually found it was as effective as a cough-suppressing drug. Drink with hot water and lemon or add to ginger tea.
Garlic contains allicin, an anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent. Studies have found that garlic can help you get sick less often and also reduce the length of your illness. When you crush or chop garlic, allicin is released, giving garlic its distinctive pungent odour. Indeed, allicin is so potent that it has been proven effective against the most antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA. Cooking garlic destroys some of this compound, so garlic is best eaten raw. Try snacking on garlic dips and spreads such as hummus or guacamole. If you are not a fan of raw garlic you should let garlic stand for ten minutes after chopping or crushing before you cook with it, as this helps to keep allicin intact.
This is because it contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses, which are the most common family of cold viruses, as well as substances that help suppress coughing. Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer. Add about 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger to hot water to make ginger tea. Ginger can also be added to stir-fry dishes, curries, and smoothies.
Chillies contain capsaicin which can reduce pain and help to break up mucus. Spicy soups and curries are good options.
Live yoghurt contains friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria help boost the production of antibodies, and help to defend against pathogenic bacteria. Studies have shown that eating a cup of live yoghurt each day can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25%. Add to your breakfast muesli or smoothies. You can also obtain probiotics from kefir milk and fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Mushrooms contain beneficial compounds known as beta-glucans, which stimulate the body’s immune system. They have been shown to protect against cancer, bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens. All mushrooms contain these beneficial compounds but levels are especially high in maitake, shitake and oyster mushrooms. There are so many ways to increase your intake of mushrooms. They can be added to omelette, stir-frys and risottos or lightly sautéd as part of a cooked breakfast.
The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, essential for keeping the mucous membranes in the nose, throat and lungs intact and healthy, so they can act as a barrier to cold bugs. These can be easily incorporated into a nice warming soup.
Vitamin C helps to reduce the severity and length of winter colds.
It supports sore throats, colds, flus, stomach aches and skin problems. Its benefits are due to a compound in turmeric called curcumin which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You can make turmeric milk by boiling a cup of milk with ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of ginger.