It’s cold and flu season. Unfortunately for those of you working in an office environment; a shared, heated, enclosed space, it’s a perfect place for bugs to spread. Did you know that the cold and flu virus can last for up to a day on surfaces like keyboards, desks and door handles?
Good nutrition can help your immune system stay healthy and balanced and reduce the likelihood of catching something. However, despite what some products claim no one food or supplement is going to stop a cold dead in its tracks, but there are things you can do which will help immune system stay in tip top shape and more able to fight off those seasonal bugs.
· Include vitamin C rich foods: Vitamin C doesn’t prevent you from getting a cold, but it can reduce how long you’re out of action for. Citrus fruits, peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes and peas are all good sources
At work – buy a bag of satsumas to have on your desk and they’ll last you the week.
· Think about your zinc: As with vitamin C, it doesn’t prevent you catching a cold but can shorten the time you have. Zinc rich foods include meat, shellfish, dairy, nuts, seeds and fortified cereals. Beans and pulses contain zinc too but soak them to increase the absorption.
At work – Buy a bag of pumpkin seeds to nibble at your desk or sprinkle on your soup of salad at lunch.
· Treat your gut well: 70% of our immune system stems from the gut. Keeping the gut microbiome (the collective term for all the microorganisms that live there) happy will help keep you happy and well. How do you do this?
1. Try including some fermented foods – kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, miso and tempeh, they are a great way of introducing more of the good bacteria.
2. Eat more fibre – this is food for the good bugs, helping them proliferate and grow. Eat wholegrain versions of your favourite carbs – so that’s brown instead of white, keep the skin on fruit and vegetables, and eat more nuts, seeds and pulses.
At work – Have yogurt or kefir with fruit for breakfast or take with you to have with your lunch.