How to stay healthy as cold and flu season descends
There are autumnal changes we enjoy (country walks culminating in Sunday roasts, golden sunsets and cashmere) and then the less desirable and seemingly unavoidable influx of cold and flu. After a jubilant summer, nothing hits harder than a cold courtesy of the school playground, office or elsewhere. But, in the same way the environment steels itself for the winter ahead, we too can make changes that will strengthen our immune system ready to fight off infection. Prevention is, after all, the best medicine.
Eating with the seasons has been replaced by the convenience culture supermarkets provide, but there are benefits to picking the freshest fruits and vegetables – particularly at this time of year. It’s no coincidence that some of the most vitamin, mineral and nutrient rich foods are ripe and ready when we need them most; pumpkin, butternut squash, blackberries and clementines are all in season now and full of vitamin C and immunity boosting antioxidants. Symptoms of cold and flu already emerging? Add a spoonful of raw honey to your hot water for its antibacterial benefits and stir fiery flavours of ginger and chili into your dishes, which will soothe a sore throat and provide another vitamin C fix.
Turmeric might be the year’s most celebrated superfood but it’s been a staple of Ayurveda –the world’s oldest wellbeing system – for thousands of years. The West is only just catching up with ideas that have been practiced in India for generations, where the natural benefits of ancient herbs and spices are widely reputed and knowledge of how best to use them is passed down with each generation. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that fight everything from colds to serious degenerative diseases and even cancer. Swap your usual coffee fix for a soothing Golden Milk – a nourishing blend of turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and clove, warmed with milk and sweetened with jaggery; calming for the digestive system and full of cleansing ingredients.
By encouraging better circulation, exercise can effectively boost immunity. Raising your pulse with regular workouts will improve heart health and as blood moves more freely around the body, the immune system can perform more efficiently. While crawling beneath a duvet is decidedly more appealing than heading for the gym, the feel good benefits (you’ll be rewarded with an energising endorphin release too) make it an essential.
More appealing ways to improve circulation can be found in the Grace Wellbeing Spa. Here the treatments are as much about delivering results as they are relaxing – whether that’s a skin clearing facial or a detoxifying full body treatment. Toxins and waste can build up in and around muscles and tissue – often manifesting in swelling, water retention or feelings of lethargy. This can make it more difficult for the blood to effectively pump essential nutrients around the body. Detoxifying spa treatments use energising essential oils, lymphatic drainage and massage techniques to break down and remove toxic build up from the body, clearing pathways and making it easier for internal systems to function as they should.
A quick and effective way to combat depleted, low energy and ill-health is with vitamin rich intravenous infusions. The body is only capable of absorbing 20% of oral supplements due to breakdown in the gut, while an infusion will deliver 100% off the antioxidants, minerals and amino acids straight into the blood stream. It’s important to have infusions administered by medical professionals, who will listen to your needs and provide a balanced formula to target your concerns. At this time of year, Grace Medical Clinic recommend Immune Support, which decreases oxidative stress and protects against free radical damage to reinforce your defences.
And when all else fails? For those that are prone to infection or have an immune system that struggles through the winter months, opt for a flu jab at Grace Medical Clinic. There are times when life throws too much our way and managing the balance can be challenging enough – without throwing in headaches, constricted breathing and sinuses that feel as though they might implode. A flu jab can alleviate the pressure on your immune system and leaves you with the headspace to focus on more exciting things.
Taking a mindful approach to your health and using medical and holistic solutions that work for you is essential to maintaining a happy, healthy body but so is patience – and taking the time to let your body rest and restore. It’s only then that we can be the best version of ourselves.