Another week, another pesky cold? If it feels like you’re entire office – and family – have been knocked for six week after week, you can thank sickness szn.
From sickness bugs to flu, it’s a sad reality that viruses transmit most efficiently in drier, colder conditions, which is probably why you can’t stop sneezing right now.
Feel like your immune system has taken a battering, you’re constantly run down and picking up bug after bug, you can blame Covid and the lockdown era that we’re all desperately trying to pretend never happened. As well as wreaking havoc with our careers, finances and social lives, a weakened immune system is yet another hangover of the pandemic. So what can we do about it? Thankfully, there are 5 simple health hacks you can implement today to boost your chances against sick season.
We called on wellness guru, Ada Ooi, who has practised Chinese Medicine and Aesthetics for over 15 years. An accredited member of the Acupuncture Society and NADA, she specialises in skin, integrated health, endocrinology and fertility. Ada grew up helping her grandfather treat cases using Chinese and Western medicine in the family pharmacy in Macau, humbly continuing his legacy combining medicine and therapeutic modalities taken from the best of both the East and the West, she treats at her London Harley Street clinic and is in-demand across the globe (just ask Ellie Goulding and Emma Mackey who have her on speed dial). Here are her five essential wellness hacks to arm yourself with now to protect your immunity this winter…
1. Eat foods that strengthen the lungs
Ada explains that in TCM, Autumn is a time where it’s essential to nourish the lungs as this is considered to be the organ most affected by pathogens, which in TCM includes not only bacterial and viral infections but also Heat, Cold, Damp and Wind elements. “For example, Damp air can make breathing difficult, Cold wind can take your breath away and make your nose stream whilst Heat can dry the mucus lining in the nose and then dry the Lungs, leading to a dry cough,” she explains.
According to TCM, the lungs circulate a specific type of Qi called Wei Qi (Defensive Qi) to protect the body from external pathogens. A lack of Wei Qi means that immunity will be impacted, so it’s very important to nourish the lungs at this time of year to prevent illness. So how can we do that”?
“Chinese medicine advocates eating seasonal fruit and vegetables as nature provides the foods that help us deal with each season; warming foods in winter, cooling foods in summer, nourishing foods in autumn and food to support the liver in spring when we become more energetic.”
Warm, light-coloured fruit and veg are considered to be beneficial for the lungs, so think onions, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, sweet potatoes, asparagus, white mushrooms, turnips, radish, apples, pears, garlic and ginger. Avoid eating sugar and dairy in excess, as well as very cold foods and iced drinks, opting for more warming, soothing foods instead.
2. Lymphatic massage
Not only is massage pretty damn blissful but it also stimulates microcirculation, bringing blood to the area massaged, which is great for our immune system. As Ada explains: “Enhanced blood circulation not only carries oxygen and nutrients to replenish cells, but brings an increase in white blood cell counts responsible for fighting infection and diseases, improving immunity.”