A to Z of good health

9th January 2004 at 00:00
The general advice of exercise and at least five pieces of fruit or vegetables a day, plus at least two litres of water should help keep you well. But you don't need to turn into a gym-obsessed macrobiotic foody to fend off or deal with the lurgies.

Avocados Excellent source of vitamins C and A and the sort of fat your body needs, that is, monounsaturated.

Blueberries A handful of these tasty little berries will boost your body's vitamin C and antioxidants.

Curries Spices such as chilli and turmeric are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, as well as being effective decongestants. They are also thought to encourage the release of endorphins into the blood to create a sense of well-being.

Dance A vigorous boogie is an excellent aerobic exercise, which also helps to get those endorphins swilling around your blood.

Eggs Back on the menu after the scares of the late 20th century. Rich in zinc, which helps your body cope with stress. Omelettes with fresh vegetables make a quick and nutritious meal.

Fluids Water is essential. Drink eight cups a day - more if you are coping with a hangover or a virus.

Garlic Preferably raw. Contains the antioxidant allicin which helps ward off bacterial infections. A bunch of parsley eaten with garlic is reputed to diminish the smelly side-effects.

Head or foot massage Best done by a professional, but others can help you relax with judicious use of fingers on scalp or toes.

Ice lollies Invest a few pence in lolly moulds, pour in your favourite fresh fruit juice and freeze. Eat whenever for valuable vitamins and to ease a sore throat. Lollies aid relaxation - try doing several other things and suck a lolly. You can't.

Jollity Make sure you laugh several times a day. A slight chuckle or a full-throated belly laugh will not only make you feel better, but will help you put your classroom cares into perspective.

Kiwi fruit Contains more vitamin C than citrus fruits and is easier to eat.

Lemon and honey Essential items for your trolley. Steeped in hot water with grated fresh ginger they make a fine drink to ease sore throats.

Add a couple of painkillers and you've got a cheaper version of manufactured potions. Also rich in vitamin C and other valuable minerals.

Marmite or other makes of yeast extract that are rich in vitamin B. The body does not store this vitamin so replenish it often.

Nuts A valuable energy booster in the middle of the day. Easy to eat and store, a handful of nuts will give you an energy boost, plus valuable nutrients. Avoid salted versions.

Oysters As with all seafood, rich in zinc, but with the added attraction of being a traditional aphrodisiac. Sex is one of the best relaxants known to man or woman.

Popcorn Low fat, energy-boosting snack, also a source of zinc, the stress-busting mineral.

Quiet - and peace Take time to breathe and smell the roses, not the coffee.

Red wine The antioxidants found in grape skins and therefore in vin rouge are believed by medical experts to offer protection against colds. Also a great aid to relaxation. Just remember: moderation in everything.

Steam Breathed in from a bowl of very hot water with menthol oil or eucalyptus. Great for clearing your nose and sinuses of the detritus of colds and flu.

Teas Try the herbal sort - the caffeine in PG andits cohorts can add to feelings of stress. Ginger, peppermint and camomile are all thought to have healing properties and can be quite tasty when mixed with our old friends lemon and honey.

Ukelele OK, it doesn't have to be the small guitar favoured by George Formby, but any outside interest or hobby will prevent you from turning school into your whole life. Hang on to it, it could protect your health.

Vaseline Great to ease the soreness around your nose from too much blowing.

Leave it on overnight to avoid the stares in the morning.

Walk Four wheels bad, two legs good. Leave the wheels at home more often, unless they're attached to a bicycle. A brisk 20-minute walk is a useful exercise for those of us who still think gym is a man's name.

Xterminate Blast the bugs before they get you. Without turning into Howard Hughes, who had a germ phobia, try to wash your hands often. This will help eradicate all the viruses and bacteria sneezed and coughed at you before you ingest them. Antibacterial wipes might come in handy, too.

Yoga, Pilates, Alexander technique and others All the gentle, muscle - strengthening regimes will help you feel more relaxed and fitter.

Zzzzs Without enough sleep, which experts put at around eight hours a night, you will be fit for nothing. To get the right sort of sleep that "unravels the sleeve of care" make sure you are relaxed before you turn out the light. Do not get into bed to do your marking.

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