While most of us welcome the onset of spring and warmer months, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear when it comes to illness. In fact, the changing of the seasons, with all the pollen and other allergens that come with it, can be a trigger to a host of other health problems. With this in mind, here’s what to do to prepare yourself and your family, so you don’t fall ill this spring.
1 Dose Up on Vitamin C
You may think you’ve heard this one before, as you load handfuls of oranges into your shopping basket and think you’ve got yourself covered. But did you know that contrary to popular belief, there are other fruits that contain far more of the vitamin than oranges? Guavas, sweet red peppers and chillies, for example, all contain between 3-6 times more vitamin C. So says dietician Andrea du Plessis, who’s working with a team of Fedhealth Dream Chasers, a group of medical aid members all training to reach a specific goal at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on 14th and 15th September. Andrea says that if you’re intensifying your training, your body needs about 50% more vitamin C than it used to.
“Supplementation with vitamin C when you exercise is vital, to ensure you maintain sufficient levels for your immune cells to be able to fight off invading cold and flu viruses and bacteria,” says Andrea. She recommends 1000-2000 mg of a vitamin C supplement daily (as well as zinc and vitamin D).
2 Make a Curry
Andrea says that garlic is known for its immune stimulating effects, helping the immune cells to fight infections. Ginger is another useful spice, relieving chest and sinus congestion by thinning the mucous, while chillies contain vitamin C and other immune-stimulating benefits. Why not combine all three into a delicious curry? You’ll be all set for dinner and boost your immune system at the same time.
3 Stay Hydrated
You know water’s important for your skin, but did you know that drinking lots of water also helps keep your nasal passages and throat moist so that bugs have a lower chance of thriving? Buy yourself a handy metal or glass bottle and carry it around with you all day, so you can hydrate consistently – without buying single use plastic bottles.
It’s no secret that our bodies and minds are inextricably connected. Feel anxious or stressed? Your body will display this anxiety by falling ill. While we cannot always control the stressors in our lives, we can control how we approach and deal with stress. One extremely useful tool to do this is meditation. Luckily you don’t have to be an expertly trained guru to meditate – there are now a number of useful apps that can guide you. Download one (try a popular app called Calm), set aside just 5 to 10 minutes each day to meditate, and watch how much better you feel.
5 Dress For The Weather
You’re probably so excited to break out that dress and sandals now that it’s officially spring! But even though the weather is “supposed” to be warming up, this isn’t always the case. Check the weather forecast in the morning and then dress appropriately, adding layers that you can peel off during the day if necessary, so that you can keep your body temperature relatively consistent. Keep a beanie or scarf in your car that you can throw on if an icy wind starts up and be aware of your typical office temperature (keep a shawl or extra jersey at your desk if necessary).
Spring is officially here, so let’s keep the bugs at bay! Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to summery health.
DISCLAIMER: You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
Information provided by Fedhealth.