What could be more annoying than contracting colds and flu during the holidays effectively dampening your party mood? They say that prevention is a whole lot better than the cure, so before the flu season starts, it’s best to stay ready and make sure that you’ll have lower chances of contracting the flu this year. There are a lot of urban legends when it comes to cold and its prevention. So read on below to separate the facts from fiction and really know the things that can help the common cold and flu at bay.
Nutrition Tip: Vitamin C is very helpful when it comes to protecting you from colds but you need to take it on an everyday basis. On the other hand, another immune-boosting compound called Echinacea is great in providing you with protection against flu and colds and the best thing about it is you don’t have to take it every single day.
Vitamins C packets, saline nasal sprays, zinc lozenges, Echinacea tablets—does taking these really lowers your chances of getting the flu? There are many research that say yes, only that the exact mechanism is a bit unclear. But then again, here’s what’s definite:
Vitamin C: Your Best Bet Against the Common Cold
A lot of compounds are said to be great in fighting the occurrences of the common cold, but amongst all those nutrients, vitamin C seemed to be the one that is most studied and researched on. Scientific studies have concluded that loading up on at least 500 mg of Vitamin C on a daily basis can reduce one’s chances of contracting a cold. Also, consuming vitamin C seemed to work well especially for those people who spend a lot of time being exposed to cold temperatures and those who are constantly being subjected to strenuous activities.
Sure, there are people who have been taking vitamin C that ends up with an occasional cold or flu, but their episodes are noticeably shorter with less severe symptoms as compared to people who don’t take vitamin C supplements at all. This case is also true with kids, and by the way, waiting for you to get sick first before deciding to take the vitamins is not as effective as taking it even before you caught the flu/colds.
Fruits are loaded with vitamin C, but bet that you didn’t know that some veggies are loaded with this too! Kale, broccoli, potatoes and chilli peppers are some examples of vegetables that you can eat if you want something that’s rich in Vitamin C.
The Deal with Echinacea
Echinacea is an herbal supplement which became popular thanks to its immune-boosting capabilities. Yes, it can increase one’s immune response; however, this herb is not recommended for long-term use as it seems to lose its effectiveness when used that way. There are also some concerns that long-term use of Echinacea can affect the other aspects of a person’s immune system.
So, whilst Vitamin C is recommended for daily consumption, Echinacea is found to be best used only if you really need to. Use this herbal supplement for those times when you feel that you’re particularly prone or vulnerable to infections. Examples of these times include periods of unusual stress, when there’s a cold epidemic within your family or workplace, or during times that you’ll be in close proximity or contact with new people or travelling to an unfamiliar or new place. You may use Echinacea for about 8 weeks at the most, then it’s best to stay off it for while, lest you want to experience a decrease in its desired therapeutic effects.
Can zinc lozenges rescue your from colds?
Zinc is an important mineral for the human body, but evidences and reviews pointing to zinc as an effective weapon against colds and flu can be really varied. Some studies have found that zinc makes episodes of colds and flu shorter, but there are other studies which have been rather inconclusive too. So the decision is yours if you want to use zinc lozenges to treat your colds.
So there you have it—a list of ways to beat those nasty colds to a pulp. Again, the keyword is prevention. Eat healthy, stay active and do your best to stay sick-free especially during the colds and flu season.