It’s that time of year again when the dreaded Man Flu descends on London like a dark storm cloud and the morning commute shifts to a scene from World War Z. Covering your face with the Metro (pretty much the only use for it these days) to shield yourself might work in the short term, but eventually Man Flu will win the war.
Here are a few of my top tips for fighting off Man Flu and staying fighting fit during the upcoming chillier months:
1. Juice It Away
Over the past couple of years juicing has become a BIG thing. Everyone loves showing off their latest creation (myself included) on Insta stories and preaching about juice cleanses and the benefits.
It may seem fairly obvious but the benefits of the juice are wholly dependent on what goes in it. Move over Joe and the Juice and their horrendously overpriced apple juices with a sprig of ginger and beetroot… the key to a healthy juice is lots of veg.
One major way to fight off illness is upping your vitamin intake and during the colder and darker months we can become vitamin sufficient in a number of areas. Increasing the number of vitamin rich foods is a surefire way to keep the Man Flu at bay.
I call this ‘Man About Town’s Fiery Juice’.. but it’s pretty standard. The key is lots of ginger and turmeric – ginger provides the kick and has natural bacterial qualities and turmeric is anti-inflammatory and one of the strongest antioxidants around.
Tip 1- grab yourself a Sage Juicer, I’ve had mine for 5 years (and counting) and despite a higher price tag, it’s never let me down. A great addition to the kitchen. Click here for the best model.
Tip 2 – Always drink with a straw, much less damaging to your teeth and enamel and try and brush straight after either way to keep those pearly whites white!
2. Man Flu Fighting Soup
Continuing on the topic of nutrients, this bad ass soup is like bringing in the big guns when it comes to the war against Man Flu. Anything warm can help with fighting against a sore throat and inflammation and when you aren’t feeling your best, a soup is always the answer.
Ingredients wise you can really play around, the key is lots and lots of root vegetables, anything that grows in the ground is jam packed full of nutrients. I am a firm believer that organic is the way forward, avoiding the horrible pesticides that can be used with the regular stuff.
Here’s the rough recipe and don’t be too precise, just add more of what you like.
I typically prefer more garlic in food and just as it can be great at fighting vampires, it’s also a good one for the battle against infection. Garlic contains ‘allicin’ which gives it the strong smell, it’s an ingredient that helps combat disease and fight infection, so a real warrior addition. Spinach is rich in magnesium and zinc (and protein!) and carrots are full of all manner of vitamins.
We were lucky enough to be sent one of the bad boys from Thermomix, a fantastic tool and addition to the kitchen. A Thermomix is essentially a blender on steroids and takes making soup to another level. Find out more here if you are interested.
But fear not, you can make soup in pretty much any decent blender, then stick in a pan to heat up.
Serve with lots of black pepper and some crusty bread if you have the appetite.
3. Stay Hydrated
This may seem like a real obvious one but it is an area we can all improve on. Just because you aren’t thirsty doesn’t mean your body isn’t in need of water. During the colder months it can be easy to neglect your water intake and let’s not forget coffee and other caffeinated drinks can actually dehydrate the body further.
The first thing I do when I head downstairs in the morning is reach for a pint of the cold stuff. The early hours are when your body is most dehydrated after sleep and so grabbing a glass early doors is really important. Staying hydrated will help the body fight off any bacteria and flush out the bad guys, not to mention the added benefits to your skin.
I am fairly militant when it comes to drinking water these days and getting a decent jug/filter combo has definitely helped. It keeps your water chilled and the filter helps purify out any impurities. Click here to grab one and take it to the next level.
4. Get Moving
Exercise improves general immune function and fresh air is always a good idea, just be sure to wrap up warm. If you are starting to feel the effects of a cold or the symptoms are showing themselves, sitting around in your boxers with the footy on may seem like the best idea but fresh air can be enormously helpful.
Just keeping your body moving can help aid the fight against illness and it’s also much better for you mentally to keep active rather than lounge around letting Man Flu take it’s hold.
Sleep plays an incredibly important part in our lives and during the Winter months it’s more important than ever. A tired body is ultimately more susceptible to infection and a good nights rest can really help in the battle against a full blown cold.
When it comes to night time routine there are a few products I use religiously to help aid in sleep and prepare for bed.
If you are struggling to get to sleep and switch off, nothing beats a warm bath (or hot shower). One of my favourite brands, Neom Organics, have a killer bath/shower oil range and a few drops of this stuff can really help get you in the mood and help you switch off. You can learn more about the range here.
(I realise I’ve photographed the ‘Energise’ instead of the ‘Sleep’ oil – DOH!)
Another product I live by is the Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask by Kiehls. The combination of calendula and aloe help soothe and hydrate the skin and ultimately fight any signs of illness – so at least you won’t look rough in the morning!
Finally nothing beats the power of a decent sleep spray. Scent is the gateway to the senses and the subtle smells of lavender and camomile help relax the body and mind throughout the night. I use a sleep spray almost every evening and I can promise it makes that extra bit of difference when it comes to helping you drift off. A current fave is from This Works and combines both their super sleep and regular sleep formulas – both natural.
Make sure you get your much needed Z’s in the fight against Man Flu!
6. Grab Some Vitamin C To Go
Making things from scratch is always the best way forward but when life gets busy and you’ve got places to be, it’s not always easy to find the time.
I recently discovered Get More Vits and their range of vitamin enriched soft drinks and they are a fab option if you are in a rush and in need of a boost. Josie and I visited Soho Farmhouse last week and the guys at Get More talked us through the range. They taste great and I was impressed to find they use natural spring water and natural sweetner, making them as healthy as possible for a soft drink.
The vitamin C sparkling orange is less than 10 calories and contains 5 oranges worth of vitamin C per bottle, so it’s a great option if you are in a rush or at work and needing a quick vitamin boost.
They also come in a handy kids size, so for any parents out there they are a fantastic solution to getting your little ones to get their required vitamins and minerals.
Available in most supermarkets these days including Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda and you can find out more about the products here.
7. Channel The Power of Green Tea & Manuka
Green tea is forever touted as a leader in the health market and it no doubt has numerous benefits. I won’t bore you with the finer details but it’s accepted that green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients – so a great alternative to coffee or tea during Winter.
As soon as I start to feel a sore throat coming on (the first sign the walls have been breached!) I tend to stick on the kettle and pour myself a green tea with a few slices of fresh ginger, squeeze and a slice of lemon and a ‘gloop’ of Manuka honey.
The ginger offers anti-bacterial powers and the lemon provides vitamin C and can help balance the body’s pH level. Aside from adding some sweetness, the Manuka honey is the secret weapon here. Primarily made in Australia and New Zealand, Manuka is harvested from bees that forage the local Manuka or Tea Trees.
Its powers include anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the perfect ‘soldiers’ to fight against a sore throat, kill bacteria and reduce inflammations.
Whether you want to strengthen your defences or kick start a fight against an incoming cold, this drink will not let you down.
Tip – Check Amazon for the best deals for Manuka and look for one with a ‘UMF’ (Unique Manuka Factor) of 15+ and above – ultimately the stronger, the better.
Here’s hoping this years Flu season isn’t too punishing and us chaps can get away relatively unscathed!
A completely random fact to leave you on – covering your eyes when people around are coughing and sneezing is actually the best way to stop airborne bacteria from spreading… so get practising… !
What are your tips and favourite ways to keep the dreaded Man Flu at bay?