After one of the hottest summers on record, we are now well and truly in the grip of the winter flu season.
Here are our winter health and wellness tips for you to stay healthy and fortify yourself over these colder months.
Boost your immune system
Soup is the ultimate health food for the winter season. With soup varieties containing ingredients such as lentils, beans, kale and carrots, soup is the perfect way to get nutrients to fight off infection and maintain a strong immune system.
Plus, don’t forget to add garlic! Studies have shown that garlic, a staple ingredient, is key to reducing the risk of becoming sick. Compounds have been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses that cause the common cold or flu.
With the change of season, it’s quite possible to forget to drink water, but we should be having the same amount we would normally consume in summer. This is because water helps the kidney's flush out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies.
Plus, with heating, the air is drier, which will dry up your nose, eyes and mouth. To protect you from getting ill, these need to be moist to help provide a mucosal barrier defence against bacteria and viruses.
If you already have a cold or flu, drinking water is important to help counteract any dehydration you may experience from sweating or high fevers.
Stay warm - there IS an immune connection
Yes, the old wives tale is TRUE – keeping warm can help prevent you from becoming sick.
Research shows that low temperatures make it harder for the body to right off rhinovirus, the bug that causes half of colds in adults and almost all colds in children.
The finding backs up the popular idea that people are more likely to come down with a cold if they get chilly, perhaps by not putting on a coat or going out with wet hair.
The US researchers looked at how well rhinovirus grew and multiplied at different temperatures. They discovered the germ found it easier to breed at 33C, the sort of temperature typically found inside the nose - than at 37C, the body's normal temperature.
Crucially, they also found that the body's initial immune response to the cold does not work as well at 33C, meaning the virus was allowed to wreak havoc when the nose was colder.
So, as well as wrapping up - make sure you cover your nose with a scarf too.
Sweat it out
Did you know that exercising can decrease your chances of getting sick? Working out boosts your immune system, by producing white blood cells to combat infections.
If you are unwell, make sure you only undertake gentle exercise.
However, if you have an underlying medical condition such as asthma, heart disease, or other medical illnesses, then it is best to check with a doctor first before exercising if you're not 100%.
Boost your defences with CurraNZ
Taking supplements can be an important strategy to stay healthy in the winter months, particularly as we don’t get the amount of sunlight exposure that generates Vitamin D production, which is crucial for our immune system to function properly.
It can also be hard to get the higher levels of vitamins you need if you’re not eating enough of the right fruits and vegetables.
Blackcurrants contain antioxidants and anthocyanins which can help strengthen the immune system, provide a viral defence and ease flu symptoms. (Now you know why, Lemsip have a blackcurrant flavour!)
Vitamin C is also an immune-boosting supplement staple and, while blackcurrants do contain high levels of vitamin C, the balance of nutrients in CurraNZ concentrates anthocyanins over vitamin C. Therefore, continuing to boost your vitamin C intake from other sources is advisable if you don't think you're getting enough through your diet.
Blackcurrants also offer anti-viral and anti-microbial properties to help ward off infections. In one study New Zealand blackcurrant extract proved hugely effective in ‘disinfecting’ the body’s cells when exposed to four strains of Influenza virus.
A single capsule of CurraNZ is highly concentrated and delivers the equivalent of a generous handful of New Zealand-grown blackcurrants, so taking one capsule a day will certainly help boost immunity and stay well over the colder months.