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Rude Wonders

Ask Away: Independent health store advice on fighting colds and flu

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Geraldine Hollywood, nutritional therapist and manager of Here’s Health in Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork

Coughs, colds and sniffles only catch you if your immune system is down, and if you do pick up a winter ailment, natural treatments are often the best. But knowing what works for relief of symptoms and how to support your immune system so you stay well is important.

Prevention power
Colds and flu become more common through the winter months and this can be made worse by physical and emotional stress, which are known to reduce your immunity and increase risk of infection. Supporting healthy immunity is possible with nutrients such as vitamins C and D, zinc and a phytonutrient called beta glucan. Some remarkable scientific studies have shown that beta glucan strengthens your immune system by improving the ability of white blood cells to fight infection when you come in contact with a bacteria or virus. Clinical studies have consistently shown that taking just 250mg daily of beta glucans may significantly reduce infections, especially in people under stress.

Rapid relief
Horseradish and garlic were natural remedies for infection centuries before it was discovered that they are rich in compounds with immune-boosting, antibacterial and antiviral activity. A number of studies have found that natural products containing garlic and horseradish can help with infections like the common cold by relieving symptoms and reducing the time you are sick. Horseradish may have a decongesting effect, making it ideal for nasal congestion and discharge, sneezing, cough and sore throat that often accompany a cold or flu.

Vitamin C and zinc are also useful as studies have found that vitamin C can shorten the time it takes to recover from a cold at doses of 1000-2000mg per day. Zinc was shown in a large review of 15 clinical studies to significantly reduce both symptoms and severity of the common cold.

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D deficiency becomes very common throughout winter due to the lack of sunlight which we need to make vitamin D. About 60% of people are deficient in this nutrient all year round and over 80% are deficient in the winter months. Taking 800iu to 2000iu of vitamin D per day markedly reduces infections in adults. A d-lighful vitamin for winter wellness and good health.

Get outside
The winter weather is less than ideal, especially in some parts of the country where it can be completely debilitating. But make an effort to get outside in the light and fresh air at least once a day. It will not only help with your daily requirement of exercise, but will support your mood and temperament. Being cooped up in the house for too long is not good for your psyche or your body. During the winter, mould can build up in your home. This can trigger congestion, respiratory infections, wheezing, coughing and even asthma attacks for those that have the disease.

Stay positive
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing! And it can affect a lot more than just your mood. Fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety and even physical discomfort can result from the changing of the seasons. The best way to beat the winter blues is to get outside daily, but also to bolster your diet. Incorporate nutrient-dense foods like hearty lentil stews and soups with fresh herbs as often as possible. Foods that are high in calcium and magnesium are said to improve stress levels, lift you out of SAD-related moods and keep you more healthy and happy overall.

Salt lamps
Salt lamps can make an attractive light. Their main attraction, however, is that the heating of that salt causes the crystal to release negative ions. These remove pollutants and dust particles from the air, purifying the atmosphere and supporting your mood.

Who's who and what's what at Here's Health, Mahon, Cork

Here’s Health is one of a group of four stores in the Cork area including branches in St. Patrick’s Street, Douglas Court Shopping Centre and Wilton Shopping Centre. The Mahon Point Shopping Centre Here’s Health opened in May 2015. Manager Geraldine Hollywood says, “our demographic is very family-oriented. The shopping centre has a cinema, nice shops and plenty of places to eat so we get a broad spectrum of people. We are open seven days a week and late on Thursday and Fridays.

“All of our staff are nutritionally trained – I am a Nutritional Therapist myself. As a company we are very educationally focused. We photocopy information and offer booklets to customers, recommend relevant therapists and are very aware of how therapies and supplements interact with medications people may be taking.

“At this time of year we get a lot of people looking for winter care and immune support including herbal teas, help with readdressing the over-indulgent Christmas period and blood sugar balancing.

“We offer on-site allergy testing and genetic testing for predispositions to chronic disease and customers in need of nutritional support.

“Food takes up about a third of our store with functional foods, gluten-free choices, as well as the likes of chia seeds, organic peanut butters, local honey, herbal teas, wild seaweed products and coconut oil.

“We offer a full range of cosmetics for beauty as well as skin conditions. Our supplements section has all the major brands. We stock the quality scientifically backed supplements that are research accredited.

“We also stock eco-cleaning household products, proteins for sports people and probiotics for skin and digestive problems and addressing the gut-brain balance.

“I would consider Here’s Health to be a serious type of health store. Our ethos is firmly rooted in education and customer service. We sell top of the range products, will do research for customer needs and make a real effort to help people.”

Visit: Here’s Health, Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork
speak to: Manager and nutritional therapist Geraldine Hollywood and sales assistants Melanie Morales, Jessica McCarthy, Cian Philpott and Hugh McCarthy who have a wealth of experience behind them.

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