Good Food Good Health – Colds

Here we are facing the 'cold' season yet again and no matter who or where you are, we are all going to come into contact with the virus.

Commuting to work is one of the worst places for contracting a cold; a nice packed underground train or bus with people sneezing is a haven for spreading viruses.

I absolutely dread getting a cold in case it turns into a nasty cough as I have COPD, (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and for the last four years have had the flu jab because of this, even though I have never had the flu.

Having this condition really makes you aware how we take our body and organs for granted. I have never smoked, not even tried and yet the first thing anybody says when finding out I have COPD is that I must have been a heavy smoker.

Unfortunately the damage was initially done to my lungs at the age of seventeen when I had pluracy that turned into bronchial pneumonia, and then contracting a nasty chest infection again when I was in my early forties caused further problems.

I know many people think the flu jab is a waste of time and money, and that with the flu virus being able to mutate every year – how can they get the right vaccine? I am still very happy to receive it, as I know that even with the vaccine being only 80% protective, if I did contract flu it should not be so devastating to my body.

That is why 'good food good health' is so important to me, not only for my own well being but of course my family and friends.

The most important thing to help fight colds and flu and most illnesses is to have a healthy immune system, and of course eating a healthy nutritionally balanced diet goes a long way in achieving this.

Some people seem to go from one cold to the next, I know we can not hide from these viruses but we really can help ourselves to reduce the risk by implementing good hygiene, washing our hands thoroughly and not touching our nose, eyes or mouth.

Catching a cold is usually from close personal contact, but viruses do lurk on household surfaces as well as skin, so an anti-bacterial cleaner and hand wash is recommended.

Many people believe that eating a hot curry can help to flush the virus out through your system by making the nose and eyes stream! Well it's worth a try.

A sore throat is one of the first signs that generally make you aware your body is fighting a cold virus, followed by sneezing and a runny nose and sometimes a cough.

Symptoms are always worst for the first couple of days and then should trail off over the next day or so but some unlucky people are likely to suffer badly for up to two weeks.

The body releases infection-fighting chemicals in its wage on the virus, which gives us the loss of appetite, high temperature and tiredness, telling us that we need to slow down and save energy allowing the body to go about its task.

If you suffer colds regularly you really do need to look at your diet to keep your body is working in tip top condition or take a supplement to help and ensure a healthy immune system, especially as there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause a cold.

Once you have contracted a cold your body is busy making anti-bodies to that virus, ensuring that you should not catch it again or at least only have slight symptoms. The most common way an adult catches a cold is through rhinovirus – entering the body through the nose.

Coughs of which I dread are different, they develop from a cold virus or other infection and result in inflamed airways. A chesty cough shows that the lower airways are inflamed and a dry tickly cough if the upper airways are inflamed.

So even though I always eat a nutritionally well balanced diet I do take a garlic supplement for added benefits. I do love garlic and use it regularly in our meals; but our children are concerned about the 'smell' factor in the house and on them so I have to tone down meals and boost it with the supplement.

So do not forget 'good food good health' to help beat the rotten winter colds and help your immune system to stay in tip-top condition.

There are some great vegetables in season this time of the year and you can easily make a really healthy chicken and chunky vegetable soup or stew that are really easy to cook and lovely and filling in the cold weather.

Also smoking and alcohol intake does have a bearing on your immune system, so if you are often run down and do drink or smoke regularly taking a look at this aspect of your lifestyle can help to.

Good Food is Good Health

Sandra & Ted