BY ANASTASIA CHOO
Chattering teeth and gloomy evenings are the least of our worries as winter approaches. It’s snotty noses, aching bones, scratchy throats and hacking coughs which become the number one challenges of the season.
Doctors are yet to find a cure for the dreaded rhinovirus but here are some preventative measures and remedies extracted from current scientific research, which I’ve put together for You Dear Readers of Country Squire Magazine.
Mud Pies and Dog Walks
The introduction of bacteria and viruses into our bodies stimulate the build-up of a healthy immune system. When kids put dirty fingers in their mouths, they’re doing their immature immune systems a favour by helping them develop appropriate immune responses. Get the kids off the X-box and out in the fresh air to play in the dirt. Incidentally, some researchers believe owning dogs and cats can help boost immunity and reduce allergies in children. Now you can think of bacteria as friendly germs that help your kids fight cold viruses that they would otherwise incubate and deliver to your stressed-out adult immune system over Christmas.
Order a Mushroom Pizza
Some of the most potent immune-supportive agents come from mushrooms, and science is just beginning to tap into this vast natural medicine warehouse. There are mushrooms that kill viruses, mushrooms that kill bacteria, and even mushrooms that kill yeast —which may surprise you, given they’re both fungi. Healthy eaters might slice and toss the mushrooms into a leafy green salad but I say sliced mushrooms over a pizza is far more enticing.
The reason we suffer more colds in the winter is that we spend too much time indoors, in enclosed quarters and in proximity to infectious people. Take a long country walk and breathe in that fresh country air. Incorporating some exercise strengthens our body’s resistance to colds by stimulating movement of certain immune cells. Studies show that walkers suffer half the number of colds as non-walkers.
Have a drink
Avoid Happy Hour as a crowded space means more spread germs but don’t be afraid to have a few beers or sip on a decent red wine this winter, particularly Rioja. Researchers have found that alcohol has an anti-inflammatory effect that suppresses the production of mucus. In addition, the Tempranillo grapes used to make Rioja may also have a significant effect on cholesterol levels – a Two for One health benefit.
A University in Pennsylvania found that people who have sex once or twice a week have stronger immunity than people who have sex less often. Those having sex up to twice a week had 30% more of the antigen immunoglobulin A(IgA) in their saliva. IgA is the body’s first line of defence against colds and flu.
Sing in the Shower
Keeping the nasal passages moist when we have the heating on prevents the rhinovirus from setting up shop in your nose. Steam is a natural decongestant and a hot shower loosens mucus in the nasal passages. Start with Singing in the Rain – a show tune encourages deep breathing, bringing in the healing steam deep into your nasal passages.
Visit your Nanny
My Nanny always made chicken soup when we had colds and scientific studies have confirmed its efficacy. Homemade chicken soup prepared with lots of garlic and vegetables mitigates the production of inflammatory compounds responsible for cold symptoms like a runny nose and congestion. To get rid of common cold symptoms, you must get rid of the inflammation that’s causing them.
Call a Friend
In a study at the University of Pittsburgh, evil scientists shot live cold viruses up the noses of volunteers. Those who reported having strong friendships and family relationships were the least likely to catch a cold. Research also found that happiness may help you; sex, positive thinking, playing with a pet and other pleasurable behaviours will boost your immune system.
Apart from getting a flu jab (if you qualify) there is little on planet earth that so stimulates the grey cells and inspires the immune system as reading this brand new, groundbreaking magazine. Unless you’re Ken Livingstone or James O’Brien of course….