Health And Lifestyle For The Over 50s

Read Our 5 Tips for Preventing a Cold

washing hands

A cold is unpleasant and sometimes leaves you feeling unwell for a couple of weeks, so it’s best to do what you can to avoid one. While there’s no guaranteed way to ensure you don’t catch a cold, living a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances. Here are some simple, natural tips which may help to keep you cold-free.

1) Keep Your Hands Clean

Hands are one of the main ways germs are spread, and that includes cold and flu viruses. Someone who has a cold sneezes onto his or her hand and those germs on the hand are transferred to various objects they touch, such as doorknobs and computer keyboards. They are then picked up by the next person who touches those objects. To avoid catching a cold through this type of direct contact, wash your hands often. It’s a good idea to carry hand sanitiser around with you for times when you can’t get to a sink.

2) Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face

You’re bound to occasionally come into contact with these virus-carrying objects so, as well as doing your best to keep your hands clean, keep them away from your nose and mouth. This limits the risk of the virus entering your body. You should also keep your hands away from your food during cold and flu season. You can eat most meals with cutlery and you can wrap tissue or a paper towel around things like sandwiches before picking them up.

3) Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help to prevent many illnesses and health conditions, including cold and flu. Get plenty of moderate aerobic exercise, such as jogging or swimming, to get your heart pumping. This strengthens your heart and boosts your immune system, increasing the body’s natural virus-killing cells. You should be aiming to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, which can easily be broken down into daily 20-30 minute sessions.

4) Eat the Right Foods

A healthy diet is always good for your immune system and general health. Your body needs the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to function at its best and support your immune system. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as getting enough protein and including some starchy foods in your meals. Garlic, cheese and yogurts containing probiotics, foods containing vitamin C, and foods containing zinc such as spinach, beef, crab and seeds such as pumpkin and linseeds, have all been particularly linked to positive effects on the immune system.

5) Cut Alcohol Consumption

Drinking lots of alcohol suppresses the immune system, leaving your body more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses. This is because alcohol can deprive the body of valuable nutrients such as vitamin A, and can make white cells less able to kill germs. Sticking to sensible drinking guidelines will help to keep your immune system healthy.

Following these tips will not only reduce your chances of catching a cold but will also minimise your risk of picking up a number of other illnesses too. Living a healthy lifestyle and practising good personal hygiene are habits that have lots of benefits, and can help to keep you feeling your best.