Snuff out those winter sniffles
Summer has ended, the leaves are turning, dusk is gathering – and there’s no doubt that cold and flu season is in full effect. Last week, with a chill in the air and a tickle in her throat, Muddy writer Zoe Dudgeon headed out for an evening with Ella Mills, hoping to pick up some of her healthy lifestyle tips. Here’s what she found out…
If you don’t know Ella, she is a food blogger and Instagram star, having founded DeliciouslyElla.com when she was 20. The blog started as more of an experiment for herself in cooking and healthy eating when she was diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome during university (a condition which meant she couldn’t control her heart rate and blood pressure that meant her nervous system struggled to function properly).
Lacking confidence in the kitchen, Ella began experimenting with, and then sharing, recipes on her blog. Fast forward four years and she now has over 17 million hits on her website, opened a deli (with another on the way) and her products are in supermarkets – and Starbucks as of this week! And she’s written books on healthy eating, and her latest, Deliciously Ella Juices and Smoothies, came out only a few weeks ago.
I was here at this event – part of the Guildford Book Fest – to hear about Juices and Smoothies. We were greeted with a wine tumbler of smoothie, which was delicious, healthy and seemed to perk me up almost instantly. Ella shared her philosophy for healthy eating, which essentially boils down to avoiding processed foods (especially white bread and sugar) and swapping them for natural produce. Pretty straightforward really!
Ella is a vegetarian (aside from the occasional piece of fish) and whilst she has a wealth of knowledge about healthy eating she works closely with nutritionists to develop her recipes. She has shared her cooking style with the world but is keen to emphasise that different things work for different people, and that everyone should respect their individual needs. There is no one size fits all when it comes to eating. And thankfully, she says, there’s nothing wrong with takeaway pizza and a glass of wine.
SIX STRATEGIES FOR SNUFFING OUT SNIFFLES
1. Eat well
Eat plenty of healthy foods – fruit, vegetables and non processed foods – to keep your immune system in tip top shape. Smoothies are a great way to pack in the vitamins, as are hot soups. Garlic is great immune booster, and spices can help relieve a stuffed up nose. Ella’s book includes recipes for 30 smoothies and juices, each with its own health benefits.
When we’re tired, we’re more prone to infection – so get yourself to bed. But mood can also affect our ability to fight off the baddies, so chill out. Calm, happy people tend to be healthier people.
3. Keep warm
Granny was right. keeping warm can help you avoid colds, coughs and flu. She was also right about wearing a hat – we lose up to 30 per cent of our body heat from our heads.
4. Drink plenty
We should drink eight glasses of water a day, say doctors. Water helps our keep our kidneys working properly and flush out the toxins in our bodies. If you’re already feeling those first signs of sniffles, drink a hot lemon and honey mix. Breathing in the steam stimulates the hair follicles in the nose to move out germs more efficiently, lemon thins mucus, and honey is antibacterial.
5. Keep moving
Apart form keeping our circulation going, regular exercise is great immune-system booster, which can prevent cold bugs from taking hold.
6. Wash your hands… a lot
Sounds so simple. But research shows that if someone has a cold it takes just four hours for the infectious virus to contaminate almost everything they touch: coffee pot, keyboards, door handles. Wash often and you’ll significantly reduce your chances of picking up germs.