Women

Win The Cold War

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Australian adults suffer through as many as four head colds a year, but you can beat the odds - and recover faster – with these research-backed strategies

Pump up the probiotics: A recent review of 10 different studies showed that 42 percent fewer people caught a cold after consuming any amount of these healthy bacteria - whether in supplement form or in food such as yoghurt - for more than seven days.

Take your stuffy nose outside: In a recent study from Monell Chemical Senses Center, participants reported feeling less nasal congestion while breathing cold, dry air than they did when they breathed normal room air - even though their nasal passages were unchanged. Menthol or Eucalyptus Lozenges help relieve stuffiness too, for the same reason. As far as the trigeminal nerves in your nose are concerned, "cool" equals "clear."

Hit the gym: People who got at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise five or more days a week had fewer and milder colds than those who were less active, according to a recent British Journal of Sports Medicine study. "Exercise sparks a temporary rise in immune cells," explains lead author Dr David Neiman.

Description: Win the cold war

Australian adults suffer through as many as four head colds a year, but you can beat the odds - and recover faster – with these research-backed strategies

Practise crowd control: Research conducted during a flu outbreak in Nottingham, England, found that those who had taken mass transportation in the past five days were six times more likely to end up with a respiratory infection than those who hadn't recently travelled by bus or train. Protect yourself by not touching your nose and eyes while in transit and washing your hands immediately afterward.

Make some music: Specifically, hum some tunes, advises Dr Timothy McCall, author of Yoga as Medicine. "Vibrations from humming open the sinuses and let phlegm drain better," he explains. "This helps to relieve uncomfortable sinus pressure and may even help stave off a bacterial infection."

Why you need a thyroid test

You'd be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn't complained of fatigue, weight gain or moodiness. But don't be too quick to write off these symptoms as seasonal sluggishness. They may be signs of hypothyroidism - a condition that, if left untreated, can lead to dementia later in life, say Harvard researchers. In a recent study, women with a thyroid disorder were twice as likely to develop a decline in cognitive function as those without one. "Thyroid hormones may regulate the production of a protein called amyloid, which could damage brain cells," says study author Dr Zaldy Tan. If your lethargy lasts two weeks or more, ask your doctor to do a blood test.

Foods that will prevent you from getting sick

Can't remember whether you should starve a fever or a cold? Don't do either! By eating the right foods throughout the winter, you can bolster your immune defences and stop viruses in their tracks.

Drink more tea

Description: Drink more tea

Drink more tea

Polyphenols, antioxidant chemicals found in white and green tea varieties, may inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause strep throat, pneumonia and staph infections, according to Milton Schiffenbauer, a professor of microbiology at New York's Pace University.

Eat more apples

Description: Eat more apples

Eat more apples

Quercetin, a chemical with antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties found in apples (as well as broccoli, red onions and berries), can help your body maintain its natural flu-fighting ability, finds a University of South Carolina study.

Get more yoghurt

Description: Get more yoghurt

Get more yoghurt

Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products won't increase congestio or worsen a cold, say researchers at Zurich University Hospital. In fact, a recent study from the University of Vienna shows that the lactic acid bacteria in yoghurt can activate immune cells that fight illness.

Load up on chicken soup

Description: Load up on chicken soup

Load up on chicken soup

Spooning up this dish can help alleviate cold symptoms by blocking a type of white blood cell that triggers them, according to researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

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