Prioritising your family's health and wellbeing is paramount if you want to survive the dreaded cold and flu season. While many attempt to forge through claiming -it's just a cold' – the reality is a common cold is nothing to be sneezed at.
Cenovis spokesperson and nutritionist, Kate Freeman, said that parents are often flat-out taking care of the family that they often overlook their own wellbeing, especially when the temperature drops.
'Common cold symptoms can last anywhere between three days to two weeks, or even linger longer if you don't nip them in the bud early," Kate said.
'Attempting to power through can be counterproductive. The last thing you want to do is spread germs amongst the family and risk of passing cold/flu to others.
'I find it's always better to try and take the time to rest, recoup, and rejuvenate – as challenging as it can be to overcome the feeling of guilt or pressure that parents often succumb to," she said.
'By building up a healthy immune system you can help the body fight off and may recover quickly from cold/flu. Think colourful plates packed high with wholesome, nutritious foods and plenty of quality sleep to help get you back on your feet," she said.
Here are Kate's top natural ways to help mitigate the misery of a common cold:
Soothe a sore throat and clear the sinuses
Mix 1-2 teaspoons of honey, and a freshly squeezed lemon in boiling water to help soothe a prickly sore throat.
Relax and soak in a hot bath with a few drops of essential oils and let the steam take care of congestion in a blocked nose.
Get a healthy dose of essential vitamins and nutrients
Pop fruit in your handbag each morning to snack on through the day. Two pieces of fruit rich in Vitamin C such as pineapple, oranges, and strawberries can help to decrease the duration and severity of cold.
Add vegetables to every dinner. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants and some vegetables may possess immune supporting properties. They will also boost the nutrient density of any meal, regardless of what else you eat.
Get out in the sun for 10 – 15 minutes each day for a daily dose of Vitamin D which may help your immune system.
Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest (sans screen!)
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated to ensure the body has enough fluids during sickness.
Switch off the electronics, jump into bed, and get plenty of quality rest. Insufficient sleep (quality and quantity) may affect the immune system.
Cenovis has been looking after Australian families for over 70 years and has grown to become one of the Australia's leading health supplements brands. Cenovis has a range of over 60 products – all manufactured and tested to the highest quality standards. Cenovis is a brand you can trust for the whole family so you can get on with the good stuff in life. www.cenovis.com.au
With almost 11 years' experience in the nutrition and health industry, Kate Freeman, is a highly sort after Registered Nutritionist and owner of a private nutrition practice in Canberra, Australia – The Healthy Eating Hub.
Question: How can we beat a winter cold by boosting our immune system, now?
Kate Freeman: Supporting immunity is all about doing little daily rituals or habits that give your body the tools it needs to be healthy:
Nourish – feeding your body fresh, whole, minimally processed foods will help support your immune system and if you do happen to catch something, you'll be back on your feet quicker if you're eating well prior to getting sick.
Rest – don't try to burn the candle at both ends. It's vital for a healthy immune system as well as other aspects of our health.
Move - moderate activity supports immunity, strengthens bones and muscles and is a fabulous stress relief. Don't put pressure on yourself to do an intense work out, just a 30-minute brisk walk is enough (it also counts if you break it up into three 10 minute sessions across the day).
Play – don't forget to have fun! Stress is never good for your immune system. Make sure you give yourself -me time' during the week or do something that makes you laugh!
If you do fall ill, good nutrition will help you recover faster. Select foods rich in vitamin C and eat lots of antioxidant-rich green leafy vegies and to maintain your energy levels, stock up on foods rich in iron and zinc, such as lean red meat, nuts and seeds.
Question: What foods should we be consuming for optimal winter health?
Kate Freeman: In the lead up to winter, it's important to consume a diet rich in protein, Zinc, and vitamins C, and D for a healthy immune system. To ensure an adequate intake of these nutrients regularly eat whole vegetables and fruits, unprocessed meats, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and unsweetened dairy products.
Just remember, the more colour the better. Add flavoursome and healthy foods like garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon juice, vinegar, wholegrain mustard, lime juice, fresh herbs, and spices to any of your favourite dishes.
Question: How does food boost our mood?
Kate Freeman: The consumption of carbohydrate increases the release of serotonin in the brain and can improve mood. Lower serotonin levels are linked to carbohydrate and sugar cravings₁ –so craving carbs in winter has a scientific explanation!
Question: What foods, boost your mood?
Kate Freeman: While satisfying our cravings for carb-heavy foods in winter can improve our mood in the short term, it's important to ensure you are eating essential vitamins and minerals rich food for a healthy immune system such as:
Protein: meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, legumes, wholegrain, nuts & seeds
Water: plain water – drinks lots to stay hydrated!
Vitamin C: kiwi fruit, strawberries, capsicum, broccoli, spinach, oranges, mandarins, tomatoes, etc
Vitamin A: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato
Zinc: meat, poultry and seafood, nuts & seeds
Resveratrol: Skins of fruit (grapes, berries), peanuts, red wine & dark chocolate
Don't forget to get outside – 10-15 minutes of midday sun helps your body make vitamin D, a really important nutrient for your immune system. It can also be found in sun-exposed mushrooms and some fortified foods.
Question: If we do feel a sniffle and want to act fast - what should we do?
Kate Freeman: Load up on foods rich in Vitamin C and pack plates high with green leafy vegies. If you do feel a sniffle coming on, make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and get plenty of quality rest to give your body the best fighting chance.
Question: Are you surprised that more than a third of Aussie mums (34%) pretend to be fine and -power on' even when they are ill?
Kate Freeman: There seems to be a deeply ingrained sense of duty and pride that sees Aussie mums power on even when they're sick.
There is a lot of pressure for mums to -keep up appearances', whether it's juggling a career with motherhood, or keeping the family household running smoothly. Unsurprisingly, guilt plays a big part in this and the perceived expectation to do it all, and to do it well.
Question: What should mums be doing instead of -powering on'?
Kate Freeman: The best thing you can do to promote optimal health and prepare for cold and flu season is to ensure you're getting enough sleep, maintain a balanced diet packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, and recognise when it is time to rest and recharge.
Question: Can you share a winter warmers recipe, with us?
Kate Freeman: Some immune supporting meal and snack ideas include:
Capsicum cheeks filled with herbed ricotta
Carrot stick with hummus
Celery sticks with 100% peanut butter
Sweet potato and carrot soup
Chicken and lentil soup
Salmon and sweet potato pie
Beef and vegetable casserole
Feta and vegetable omelet
Roast mixed vegetables in garlic and rosemary
Chargrilled vegetables with garlic and lemon dressing
Ginger and lime vegetable and pork stir fry
Cauliflower, Lentil, white bean or sweet potato mash
Question: What foods could mums be adding to their families lunchboxes during winter?
Kate Freeman: Look to pack a fresh lunch box with a balance of Omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, etc), good bacteria like natural yoghurt, and foods rich in Vitamin A, C, and Zinc (kiwi fruit, mandarins, oranges, strawberries, capsicums, etc).
Food ideas could include: salad wraps or sandwiches with tomato, carrot and baby spinach, boiled eggs, baked beans, tinned tuna or salmon, vegetable sticks and fruit salad. Even a hot, vegetable rich soup in a thermos is perfect for school lunch boxes!
It doesn't have to be complicated, just a few healthier additions can help support the immune system. This will ensure kids have the energy they need to concentrate, learn, and play at school – plus make sure lunch boxes always come home empty.
Interview by Brooke Hunter