There’s a misconception that the weather contributes to developing a cold. Many people believe that when it’s cold, rainy, or windy, they’re bound to “catch a cold.” This misconception might stem from the fact that the symptoms associated with this uncomfortable state of being – runny or congested nose, coughing, sneezing, headache, scratchy throat, or watery eyes – are referred to as having a “cold.” However, weather has nothing to do with it, as many people in the UAE, with its year round sub-tropical climate also succumb to these symptoms.
In fact, when you have a cold, it’s because you’ve contracted a virus. There are over 100 viruses that can cause the common cold, with the most likely one being the rhinovirus. You can develop a cold if, when experiencing a lowered immune system, you touch an infected surface followed by touching your nose or mouth. You can also contract the virus if you come in contact with the secretions of someone else who is infected. Having a lowered immune system is the biggest gateway to contracting the virus. Your immune system can be lowered as a result of stress, depression, certain medications or nutritional deficiencies.
In addition to washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water, or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer, there are certain foods that will strengthen your immune system and should be included in a healthy diet to help prevent colds. First, ensure that you‘re taking a good quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement.
Garlic is known for its amazing health benefits and should be at the top of your super food intake. Include it in your meals, as with sautéed vegetables. If you’re concerned about the smell, take an odourless supplement like Kyolic (aged garlic extract).
The live active cultures found in natural yogurt brands are excellent to keep your digestive system functioning properly. A healthy digestive system leads to a strong immune system. Make sure the container says “live and active cultures”, otherwise it’s little more than sugar filled junk food.
Tumeric & Cayenne
Spice up your meals and improve your immune system with turmeric and cayenne. Turmeric has been known to have many incredible health benefits and is found mainly in curry. Cayenne is a digestive aid and helps to break up congested mucous.
Studies have shown that cinnamon reduces inflammation and has a high antioxidant count. Antioxidants prevent cell damage and are an important factor in healthy foods. Add up to a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to your hot cereal or hot chocolate for a delicious flavour. Cinnamon is also great for boosting the immune system.
Berries & Nuts
Also high on the list of super foods to include in your diet are berries, especially blueberry and goji berries. You can add frozen blueberries to a smoothie and dried goji berries to your afternoon snack of a handful of nuts, especially walnut and/or almonds which are excellent sources of fiber and minerals.
Use your kitchen as your healing laboratory by stocking up on these super foods to enhance your health, boost your immune system and liven up your taste buds. Also, remember to get adequate rest. You’ll find that your incidence of catching a cold will decrease and you’ll feel much better.
By Aisha Shakti Hakim