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4 ways to avoid a cold this winter

It may be cold outside, but there are many of you out there who are still braving the water in your canoes, kayaks or SUP boards, and we salute you!

 

 

But if you are spending time in the water this month, you are probably putting yourself at risk of catching a cold. It may not be the worst thing in the world, but having a cold affects our productivity, pauses our social lives and generally just makes us feel a bit rubbish!

As they say, prevention is better than cure, so we have taken a look at four ways you can avoid a cold this winter and help you get back out on the water:

Up your berry intake

Pretty much any berry is going to give you a hefty boost of phytochemicals (plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties), some fibre and a dose of vitamins and minerals. But when it comes to halting a cold, there should be two berries that are top of your shopping list: blackcurrants and elderberries.

The pigments which gives the fruits their rich colours, known as anthocyanins, can help to improve your body’s immune system response, as well as reducing inflammation. One study into the anthocyanins found in blackcurrants discovered their ability to improve a person’s night vision by helping with the regeneration of certain proteins.

Add a handful of berries to your morning porridge, whip up your own smoothie or buy a juice with no added sugar to feel the benefits of berries.

 

Get a good night’s sleep

In today’s hectic world, we try to fit a million different things into one day, which usually means we miss out on something very important; sleep. As a result, you end up tired, worn out and less able to fight off infections.

There is a simple fix for this, which is to start winding down sooner and going to bed earlier, preferably at a similar time every night. You should also avoid anything which may hinder sleep quality, such as caffeine, exposure to blue light from electrical devices and even the bedroom being too hot (studies found 18°C or below is the optimal temperature).

Focus on your breathing

Your hectic lifestyle can quite often put you in a state of chronic stress, causing you to take shallow, irregular breaths that result in you being even tighter and more anxious. This causes nervous system fatigue and inflammation which makes you more susceptible to all manner of illnesses.

To solve this issue, you should try and become conscious of how you are breathing, and if you are stuck in a bad pattern, take a few minutes to inhale slowly and exhale even more slowly, at several different points throughout the day. Not only will it help you to feel calmer, but it will also give you immunity a bit of a boost!

Drink more tea!

You don’t need an excuse to drink more tea, do you? But in case you were looking for one, here you go! Tea, especially green tea, is one of the best immunity boosters out there. But rather than just chucking the bag in a mug and adding the water, if you add lemon, lime or other citrus juice to your team, it has been found to increase the uptake of antioxidants dramatically. Plus, who doesn’t love a hot drink when they’re feeling cold?

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