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Winter Is Coming: Beating The Sniffles

With the cold nights closing in, here are our top tips for beating the cold and flu bugs that take hold at this time of year.

With winter closing in (not the Game of Thrones kind) and the nights getting longer; the inevitable bugs, coughs, colds and general illnesses are floating around, picking us off like fish in a barrel. Here at Manny & Me, we like to think that we are experts at dodging these airborne beasties and we do so in the most natural way possible, we also encourage all the children we work with to be a part of ensuring we stay fit and healthy right through the cold months ahead.

Children are very resilient and have lots of inbuilt defences to fight the multitude of germs they are exposed to, but we thought it would be good to compile a list of 4 best things to consider to naturally and organically swerve the bottomless boxes of tissues and days shivering in bed, wondering if they (or you) will ever feel normal again. So here it is:

Vegetables

It’s obvious that vegetables are a key part of your child’s healthy diet and ensuring you are eating a good, healthy and balanced diet can be a key defence in not getting a cough, cold or flu-like symptoms, but what vegetables are best for this?

In this amazing article on the ABC News website, they talk about the benefits of Turmeric which is usually associated with Asian cooking, stating ‘a 2008 study published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications found that curcumin prevents some immune cells from responding to stimulants and so has modulating and anti-inflammatory effects’. The ‘curcumin’ they talk about is a polyphenol which has cold and flu fighting characteristics.

Another incredible flu fighter is garlic. Revered and lorded by alchemists and doctors dating as far back as the Egyptians, garlic was so precious it was even used as a currency because people knew its value as an antibacterial agent.

Today there are so many products claiming to have harnessed the power of the little white gem, but we believe there is nothing better than the raw, natural powers of garlic bulbs alone. Chopping them up and swallowing them, with a glass of water, is an excellent way to ensure you are unlocking all the goodness contained within (even it it makes your breath smell a little), but also adding a couple of extra chopped bulbs into your cooking is a great way of maximising your intake of the nutrients garlic holds.

For more information on some garlic recipes you can cook for your little ones, look here.

Fruits

We all know the value of vitamins and many of us are aware that it is vitamin C which is an excellent soldier in our war against colds and flu, but which fruits are the best sources? Men’s Health wrote a great article on the 4 best here and we thought we would summarise for you, so you can start stock piling them and ensuring your little ones get as much access to them as possible.

  1. Apples – a quick and easy snack and packed full of goodness, giving your child a great source of flavanoids and up to 1500g of Vitamin C
  2. Papayas – according to the Men’s Health article With 250 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, a papaya can help kick a cold right out of your system. The beta-carotene and vitamins C and E in papayas reduce inflammation throughout the body, lessening the effects of asthma.’ So tying this into your cooking or just having them in your fruit bowl will be a massive help.
  3. Cranberries – whether in juice, cakes or more generally, just eaten, this little gem is packed with a range of antioxidants and helps with lots of illness fighting. We recommend organic cranberry juices, found in any good supermarket.

Grapefruits – Back to Men’s Health Magazine, they state ‘Loaded with vitamin C, grapefruit also contains natural compounds called limonoids, which can lower cholesterol. The red varieties are a potent source of the cancer-fighting substance lycopene.’

Exercise

Stating the obvious here, but exercise is key to ensuring you stay healthy throughout the winter months. It’s hard, we know, those dark and cold evenings don’t tempt us adults to get out and break a sweat, let alone children. But it is essential in the war against getting ill. Sweating is an excellent way of your body ‘having an oil change’. It is a way of you naturally pushing out liquids that no longer hold any nutritional value and your body doesn’t need.

There are obvious ways of doing this, going for a run or playing some football, but an aid to ensuring you and your child build up to a sweating state, is wrapping up warmer than you usually would and keeping the clothes on, even when you’ve started sweating.

An important thing to remember though, when you have stopped doing the exercise, is to get inside ASAP. Your clothing may have dampened and you will cool down quicker than normal.

Water

‘Drown a cold’ is what my Norwegian mother has always told me. I stand by this as an essential part of fighting germs and bugs. The more you drink, the quicker your body re-energises and re-builds, from a cellular level up. We recommend filtered water (bottled also, but it is so bad for the planet) and drinking a minimum of 2 litres a day. If you’re ill, double that and try to drink at least 3 to 4.

What to do if you your little one does get the sniffles

If you do get sick, rest and recuperation is essential. We recommend changing your bed sheets immediately, as they may be harbouring some of the germs that have struck you down. Also, make your bathroom steamy hot and if you have an oil diffuser, try using some of the recommendations on this Nature-Up post here.

Finally, if symptoms persist and you really feel like you or your little one have a serious bout of the sniffles, seek medical attention from your GP or doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

For more information on any of the topics featured on this blog, get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

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Manny & Me | London based nanny & education agency | London