5 flu-fighting rituals

20 April 2017 by
First published: 21 October 2016

Try these 5 flu-fighting rituals to help keep bugs at bay. As it’s that time of year again. The clocks are set to go back, the days are getting shorter and our risk of seasonal illness is steadily on the rise. In the UK alone, a whopping 150 million sick days are taken for colds and flu each year, so we’ve rounded up the best ways to help you fight back this winter.


1  Wash hands

Good hygiene is paramount when it comes to keeping bugs under wraps and both your home and the office can be a major germ zone – especially during winter. Get vigilant about cleaning surfaces, as if you’ve got a poorly housemate or family member your risk of getting sick quickly rises. Taking a few safeguarding steps at work can make all the difference too, so be sure to wipe down keyboards and phones regularly and bring your own water bottle instead of using those provided by the communal kitchen, in a bid to minimise the risk of germs spreading.


2  Jazz up your diet

We all know a diet that’s rich in fresh fruit and vegetables helps to keep us healthy, but there are certain foods that act as powerful flu-fighting aids. Raw garlic contains an anti-viral compound called allicin (which is released when garlic is crushed) that can help to ward off sniffles. Just one chilli will provide twice the daily allowance of vitamin C, while turmeric contains curcumin, which is high in antioxidants and is also anti-inflammatory.


3  Get more sunlight exposure

Vitamin D is probably the single most important nutrient when it comes to immunity, but is notoriously difficult to get during winter. As dietary sources are few, (eggs, oily fish and mushrooms) and sunny winter days are limited, you’ll probably experience a drop in levels. Factor a good vitamin D supplement into your diet – like Nature’s Plus Liquid Sunshine Vitamin D3 Drops, £29.95 – to top up levels all winter long.


4  Exercise regularly

It may be tempting to skip exercise once the darker days draw in, but keeping your fitness routine alive during winter could massively benefit your body. Staying active helps to improve the activity of immunity cells so they can fight bacteria and viruses more efficiently – just remember not to overdo it. Too much exercise actually has the opposite effect and could weaken your immune system, as a result of not allowing your body to get adequate rest.


5  Sleep more

Functioning on just a few hours of downtime doesn’t just affect your mood, your wellbeing takes a hit too. Experts believe we need around eight hours of snooze time a night to keep your immune system working well. During sleep, your body repairs and renews itself. The immune system releases substances called cytokines, which help to fight off infections and essentially keep us healthy, along with regenerating levels of immune cells and antibodies. The problem is that when you don’t get enough zzzs, levels of these immunity protectors are lower than usual, so try to get a good sleep routine and go to bed at the same time each night.