Have you been ill yet this season, a benign sniffle perhaps or the Cold From Hell or even this year's influenza?
Ho ho ho! I guess you were one of the naughty ones then
Well, the good news is you are not alone: A typical westerner catches a cold or the influenza once every two years. On the other hand, a typical westerner is a couch-dwelling, overweight junk-food-ivore who couldn't care less about time to recovery, brain health or longevity.
Just reading this proves you are not average.
Even you and I can catch a cold, despite working out and eating a varied diet. I had a cold in 2006 that made me miss workouts for almost an entire week. But since then, at worst I've had a "raw" feeling in the throat and a two day stint associated with all kinds of naughtiness in Costa Rica.
As I wrote back in August, there are ways to defend yourself against the season's germs, simply using the season's (Swedish) food. Okay, I admit I can't guarantee a cold free life, that was a white lie, but to me it feels that way. I actually deliberately play chicken with the influenza; throughout October and November this year, I have regularly walked around barefoot, wearing just shorts and a t-shirt. Yes, in Sweden.
The following foods are everywhere in Sweden in the winter, and should be in other countries on the northern hemisphere too.
The top 5 Swedish winter foods that will keep you on top
- Ginger - anti inflammatory, increased bloodflow, good for the heart (prevents stroke, lowers blood pressure), brain (migraine, nausea), stomach (less gas, no diarrhea), joints. All of the above explains why you become a kind person from eating gingerbread (as the Swedish saying goes).
- Cinnamon - regulates blood sugar and insulin sensitivity (which may be needed since most people only consumes it in cinnamon buns. I add moderate amounts in my porridge and protein drinks but no more than a table spoon a day. Don't overdo it says the liver!)
- Saffron - contains crocin, which protects nerve cells and prevents ALS, Huntington's, MS and Parkinson's. Your choice is saffron buns or Parkinson's disease... Hmmm, difficult
- Fat fish (salmon and herring) - contains Omega 3, 200g mackerel, salmon or herring per day reduces inflammation, speeds recovery, enhances cognition, prevents depression, increases insulin sensitivity, protects agains diabetes, fatty liver, high colesterol, reduces the stress hormone cortisol, lowers the heart rate and increases protein synthesis (more muscle!)
- Oranges - vitamin-C is essential at all times, but particularly during the physical and mental stress that the holidays bring. Good for immune system, skin, skeleton, blood vessels, connective tissues, used in burning of fat, reduces DOMS. There is some evidence vitamin-C mitigates hangovers as well. Do NOT substitute with orange juice. Eat whole oranges or lemons. Raw; never cooked in any way.
Bonus list: 5 additional nutritional miracles
- Vitamin D - anti inflammatory and good for more or less everything, and almost everybody north of Italy/Los Angeles is getting too little. I eat 4000 IE/IU = 100ug per day. Spending a summer's day at the beach maxes the body's vitamin-D production at around 20 000 IE. Swedish milk contains added vitamin-D but even a full liter only adds up to 180 IE which is way below the minimum requirement. Vitamin D has good indications for skeletal density, cancer, asthma, eczema, allergies, low testosterone, strength, mobility, blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsia, heart disease, MS, colds
- Honey in your green tea - anti-inflamatory, i.e., good for everything -and it tastes good
- Garlic in your sallads - anti-inflammatory, good and tasty
- Chili anywhere you can - vitamin c, capsaicin for joint pain, cancer, blood sugar
- Protectis - Lactobacillus Reuteri: promotes healthy bacteria in the gut, throat and mouth which strengthens the immune system. It was the combination of vitamin D, Omega3 and Lactobacillus that made colds nothing but a sad memory for me.
Stay strong and healthy. Stay classy
A picture of health at 42-43