We don’t always appreciate what we have until we lose it – and this also applies to our health. These are the things you can do today, so you don’t lose your health tomorrow.
#1 Have a cold shower
Studies have shown that people who took daily cold showers had an increase in the number of virus fighting white blood cells. Why does this happen? It is probably due to your body’s increased metabolic rate, from the shock of the cold temperature water.
#2 Wash your hands
Germs can live for up to 3 hours outside of your body, and will take every opportunity to move from surfaces to your hands. Their strategy is simple: countertop > hands > mouth > blood, in under 180 minutes.
Your strategy is just as simple:
- Wash for at least 20 seconds: the same time as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.
- Always use soap.
- Remember to wash the tops of your hands, as well as your fingers and nails.
- Wash your hands regularly throughout the day, especially if there is anyone who is sick in your household or office.
Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep at night. If you don’t, your risk of getting the cold increases 4 times!
#4 Eat more phytonutrients
Phyto-what? Phytonutrients are natural compounds that are made in plants. In fact, “phyto” comes from the Greek word for plant. These little health helpers may protect against germs and other environmental threats. They give plants their vibrant colour, distinct taste and smell, and keep them healthy. There are more than 25 000 phytonutrients found in plant foods. The most common variants include:
#5 Cut out sugar
What is your favourite treat? Chocolate? Cake? Jelly sweets? There’s nothing wrong with sugar itself – it gives us energy, and enhances the taste of things. But the quantity of sugar we eat on average, is toxic. How?
- It causes inflammation which has been linked to ageing and disease. Want to slow down the ageing process? Start with cutting refined sugar from your diet.
- It can lead to diabetes.
- It can contribute to heart disease.
- It could increase your cancer risk.
In total, you should only get up to 30g of sugar per day (including hidden sugars in treats and juices.)
#6 Stop smoking
We know smoking is ‘bad’. But do you know why?
- It disrupts your immune system.
- If fills your body with toxic chemicals that can lead to cancer.
It may be a hard road, but quitting is worth it!
#7 Get just enough sun
The germs that cause the common cold don’t suddenly appear at the first sign of winter. They are around for most of the year. One of the main reasons we get sick more often in winter is because we spend more time indoors, with others, being exposed to more germs. Beyond that, sun also stimulates endorphins and vit D. So get your 20 to 30 minutes a day!
#8 Stress less
Yes, we know that it’s easier said than done. However, you can manage your stress, with a few simple principles:
- Take deep breaths regularly. Inhale and exhale slowly. It regulates your stress-hormone, fills your brain with oxygen, and helps get rid of carbon dioxide.
- Accept the things you can’t change. You can’t control the traffic, so make sure you have some good music on hand.
- Take time-outs. Go for a short walk, have a shower, go and make yourself a cup of tea – just step out of the stressful situation for a few minutes, if you can.
#9 Drink plenty of fluids
Water helps your kidneys function as they should, helps flush out toxins that collect in your body, and keeps you hydrated. If you don’t like water, try adding slices of lemon or orange. Herbal teas also contribute to your daily water intake, so drink up!