A runny nose and a tickly cough might seem like an inevitable part of your winter. But just by making a few tweaks to your lifestyle that boosts your immune system, you can tackle those seasonal nasties head on to stay happy and healthy all winter long.
- Sleep well
"If you're not getting enough sleep, your body is weaker at fighting off germs, making you more likely to catch viruses and colds" says Kate. "To stay healthy, aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night so that your body can repair and refresh itself".
If you often struggle to nod off or don't feel rested, we've got 6 steps steps to getting a good night's sleep here.
- Eat your greens (and fruit)
"Getting more vitamin C into your body is great for boosting your immunity against viruses like the common cold" Kate says.
"Try to eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, like broccoli and spinach as well as lots of fruit to keep your vitamin C levels up”. For example, you could try this broccoli and butterbean hot pie or this spinach and ham french toast to get the greens into your mealtimes.
“Multivitamins can help too, but it's best to try up your vitamin intake by what you eat if you can”.
- Head to the great outdoors
"Even when the weather looks miserable, it's important to get out and get active, as doing even just a bit of moderate exercise will do you the world of good.
"It keeps you happy, stress-free and fit as well as getting your immune system in tip top shape ready to ward off colds" says Kate. Wrap up warm and take a brisk walk around the block or take to your bike or your running shoes if you want to push yourself that bit further.
- Think about drinks
"If you enjoy a drink, try to limit it to a sensible amount and don't drink too often as alcohol can weaken your body's ability to fight off bugs".
"Be sure to sip on plenty of water, or other soft drinks like squash or fruit juice, throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated".
- Wash your hands
"Your hands come into contact with millions of germs every day, on the bus, in the shops and out into the streets and these can quickly multiply.
To keep the harmful bacteria at bay, be sure to wash your hands regularly, taking care to wash right between your fingers".
You could also think about carrying round some hand sanitiser or wet wipes for those occasions when you're away from a bathroom.
- Consider a flu jab
"Having the common cold really isn't much fun, but getting flu can really knock you back for the winter, especially when you're a bit older" says Kate."The flu jab is really quick and simple and certainly worth doing to stay healthy".
Many people, including anyone aged 65 or over, are also entitled to a free flu vaccine- just speak to your GP, practice nurse or local pharmacist to find out more. And even if you're not eligible, you can still get the vaccine privately, often at your local pharmacy or some high-street shops and supermarkets. We've got more advice about getting a flu jab here.
There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.