Our immune system is working around the clock to defend our bodies but it is not a perfect system – sometimes pathogens get in and cause havoc. Although its not quite here yet, cold and flu season is just around the corner and while we hate to think of our warm sunny days coming to an end, we need to prepare ourselves and our bodies for the upcoming winter. While this is a new area of research, here are the best ways to help you get through cold and flu season as healthy as possible:
- Avoid smoking
- Eat a good diet – having crucial macronutrients and minerals help the immune system function optimally
- Exercise- exercise helps promotes healthy weight which contributes to overall health however it also causes good circulation which allows the cells of the body to move freely allowing the immune system cells to get where it needs to go and do its job efficiently
- Sleep- sleep is the time when your body can focus on healing and less on the functions of daily life – its essential to reset your system
- Wash your hands – self explanatory – there are tonnes of germs in everyday life, we come in contact with them everywhere we go and its important to try and prevent ourselves from contracting and passing germs around
While these steps all seem easy to follow, its important to get into a routine before flu season and adopt habits that help create a balance in your body. One thing to be wary of are supplements that claim to provide amazing immune boosting properties, there is no scientific evidence that these supplements actually work. Its more effective to take a good multivitamin and focus on foods that provide the right nutrients. Try adding these foods to your diet:
- Yoghurt – helps keep the stomach and intestines free of pathogens – look for packages that say “live and active cultures” (serving size- 12 oz a day)
- Garlic – a British study showed garlic helps fight multiple diseases which may be due to the zinc found in garlic (Dose- 2 raw cloves a day plus added to cooking)
- Shellfish – rich in omega 3 fats and zinc shellfish help white blood cells produce proteins that help fight the flu.
- Black and GreenTea – a Harvard study showed people who drank 5 cups for two weeks has 10 times more virus fighting ability! (dose- several cups a day)
- Mushrooms- studies show these help increase production and activity of white blood cells (dose- a few ounces a day)
- Citrus fruits – high in vitamin C which is crucial for the body as it does not make it or store it – vitamin c is though to increase the production of white blood cells
- Spinach – packed with vitamin A and C along with anti oxidants it increases the disease fighting capability of our immune systems. Cook it as little as possible to retain nutritional value.
No one likes to be sick, so why not give yourself the best shot at staying healthy? Give these tips a try and let us know how you do!
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