6 ways to stop a summer cold

Bridget March
Photo credit: Richard Phibbs for Harper's Bazaar

From Harpers Bazaar UK

While associated with winter, summer colds are surprisingly common and can be just as nasty, if not worse. To compound matters, summer colds tend to linger longer and have a higher chance of recurring. So what can you do to boost your immunity and avoid a holiday disaster? Hannah Braye, nutritional therapist for Bio-Kult, shares her expert advice.

1.Eat well

"Where possible during BBQ season, opt for eating organic grass-fed meat. Not only can you be sure the animal has been reared to high welfare standards, but organic meat has been shown to have up to 47 per cent higher levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids, which emerging research indicates could stimulate certain immune cells. Serve your meat with an array of rainbow-coloured salads, topped with nuts and seeds, to ensure you are getting a variety of immune-supportive nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and selenium."

2.Up your intake of Vitamin C

"Vitamin C is also beneficial for immunity, and has been shown to shorten the duration of colds by up to eight per cent, as well as reducing the severity. Berries are a delicious source of Vitamin C and luckily grow in abundance during the summer months. Go berry picking for strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, elderberries and blackcurrants to top up on this immune-supporting anti-oxidant."

3.Pop a probiotic

"Approximately 70 per cent of the immune system resides in the gut, which acts as our first line of defence against harmful viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. Taking a good-quality daily live bacteria supplement, such as Bio-Kult Advanced multi-strain formula (£8.99), is a great strategy to support healthy digestion and immune function. Traditional fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh and miso have also been used for centuries to help keep gut flora balanced, so try incorporating some of these into your diet on a daily basis to help avoid summer sniffles."

4.And breathe...

"When we are stressed and overtired the immune system's ability to fight off germs, viruses and other pathogens is reduced, leaving us at risk of infections. Summer can be non-stop with parties and other social engagements, but be careful not to burn the candle at both ends. Set aside down-time for yourself – dig out that hammock, lie back with a good book and soak up a little Vitamin D (another key nutrient for immunity), but be sure to be sun safe."

5.Fly smart

"How many times have you fallen ill as soon as you get on holiday? One study found that colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground. Some preventative measures you can take when flying include staying well hydrated, going easy on the in-flight drinks (alcohol depresses our immune system), getting some sleep instead of staying awake to watch in-flight movies and wearing a face-mask. You may also want to irrigate your nose with a saline solution to help wash out germs and keep your nose hydrated during the flight."

6.Prioritise hygiene

"Washing your hands frequently can help prevent the spread of infection, however many commercial soaps and anti-bacterial products contain harsh chemicals. A more natural solution is to make your own hand sanitiser by adding a few drops of anti-microbial essential oils (such as clove, sage, rosemary cinnamon, lavender or orange) to aloe-vera gel. Store the mixture in a little bottle that's easy to carry in your day bag at summer festivals and other times where you are at increased risk of picking up infections."

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