Simple ways to keep flu at bay

With the temperature soon to dip, here are 8 simple ways to keep flu at arm's length

Use meat bones in soup
So, why is chicken soup good when you have a cold? Experts say, the bone marrow in chicken bones when added to soups and stews helps because marrow is the root of blood and yin in Chinese medicine. It contains a sort of fat found in our organs that encourages the body to produce white blood cells our disease fighting force.

Wash hands up to elbows
We know it sounds like what the OCD crowd would do, but washing your hands with soap all the way up to your elbows is effective in keeping the flu at bay. It's especially effective before you eat a meal or touch any part of your face. Health studies reveal that the forearm carries more bacteria than even the armpit. Key places for bacteria to thrive: forearms, palms, index fingers, back of knee and the soles of feet, say researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Stick to one glass
They say a single glass of red wine offers a range of health benefits, but that's where it ends. Knocking back glass after glass can impair your white blood cells' ability to fight infections for up to 24 hours after the bar crawl.

Stock up on ginger, seabuckthorn
Ginger is an anti-viral, and helps fight some viruses that cause colds and flu. Include it in your cup of chai, add a few shavings to your fruit juice, and use it to marinate meats in. Similarly, Sea Buckthorn too, is a winter warrior. It helps increase your body's resistance to stress trauma and fatigue while promoting a better heart, liver and the immune system. Packed with essential fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins and minerals, Sea Buckthorn oil fights a variety of illnesses.

Breathe deep
It sounds bizarre but taking a few deep breaths a day can drop your chances of developing pneumonia. When you have a free moment or so, practise deep belly breathing. Take breaths that make your belly puff out (hold for three counts and inhale for three counts). Gradually, you'll learn to breathe better throughout the day.

Keep nails short
Lengthy, manicured nails look gorgeous but they can easily turn into a breeding ground for germs. Research shows women with nails three millimetres past the tip often have illness-causing bacteria under their nails. Always clip your nails.

Warm your feet
Researchers say, keeping your feet warm may reduce your chance of catching a cold by as much as 67 per cent. British researchers believe that when your feet are cold, blood vessels located in the sinuses tend to tighten, which makes it more difficult for white blood cells to get in the mucus membranes of the sinuses (where most viruses sneak in). Don't roam barefoot, and slip on a pair of socks before you snuggle into bed. That helps dilate your blood vessels, and let immune cells travel where they are needed.

Use paper, not cloth towels
After washing your hands, comes the drying, and how you do that is equally important. Using and reusing a cloth towel is a bad idea since it becomes the seat of germs. Paper towels, on the other hand, can be disposed.

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