The cold winter months mean high season for germs and viruses. One outbreak of the common cold is often followed by another. Wet and cold weather combined with the dry air of a heated room makes the mucous membranes of nose and throat more likely to dry out. This paves the way for infections and leads to coughs, sore throats and head colds as possible consequences. In order to prevent this from happening, it is essential to strengthen the body’s immune system.
Here are some simple tips on how to fight colds and tickly throats.
How to strengthen the immune system
Even simple measures can contribute to strengthening the immune system in a natural way, for example by sticking to a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting healthy, restful sleep.
The right groceries
A deficiency in nutrients during the winter months can lead to a lack of energy, tiredness and absent-mindedness. An insufficient intake of vitamins also weakens the immune system. All the more reason to maintain a healthy diet! The supply of fruit and vegetables is not anywhere near as abundant now as it is during summer. The tendency to reach for fatty or sweet dishes is not surprising. However, there are vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables that provide plenty of valuable substances and are available during the cold season. For example, the Vitamin C in cabbage or citrus fruits is a highly effective antioxidant, supports antibody production and thereby helps to prevent common colds.
Did you know that dehydration puts mucous membranes at a higher risk of drying out? Make sure to drink at least 1.5 – 2 litres of liquids a day, preferably water, mineral water or herbal tea. Not only does a healthy hydration level keep your mucous membranes moist, it simultaneously prevents tiredness, headaches or difficulties in concentration.
When you experience stress, your body releases cortisol – a hormone closely linked with the body’s defences. Chronic stress can suppress immune reactions. It’s therefore important to make time for several rest and relaxation phases throughout the day. Getting a massage or enjoying a warm bath is just as effective as practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or autogenous training. If you are too busy during the day, taking a nightly walk is another great way to reduce stress.
Sticking to a exercising schedule and getting fresh air doesn’t only strengthen your immune system. By taking in sunlight the so-called “happiness hormone” serotonin is released. Moreover, the metabolism is also stimulated.
Healthy, relaxing sleep
Sleep doesn’t only serve the regeneration of body and mind, it also reinforces our immune system. During deep sleep, the body’s defense system stores information about pathogens and builds antibodies. It is therefore vital to not only sleep sufficiently, but also restoratively. By incorporating a healthy lifestyle, creating a healthy sleeping environment and choosing the right bed you are ensuring ideal conditions for high-quality sleep.