It’s that time of year again. The time when germs run wild and colds are plentiful. Cold and flu season, is upon us and it seems as though everyone we know is blowing their nose, caught up in a sneezing fit or trying their best to hold down their dinners. You try to get done what you can, while you’re still well enough to get up and go, since it’s inevitable that you’ll end up sick sooner or later too. Or will you?
Just because everyone you know is getting sick, doesn’t mean that you have to as well. It just means you need to step up your immunity game, and help your body fight off those germs better. Since your immune system is in fact a system that must work together with the rest of your body, it is imperative that you maintain a healthy lifestyle if you want it to function properly. That means following simple healthy suggestions such as:
In addition to leading a generally healthy life there are a few other ways that you can help keep your body safe from the harmful presence of disease causing bacteria and germs. For instance there are certain foods that you can incorporate into your diet this time of year that have been shown to help work with your immune system to keep your body free of germs and illnesses. Some of those foods include:
There are live active cultures, or probiotics, that are found in certain yogurts and have been proven to stimulate white blood cells, which help fight off harmful bacteria. Even yogurts without Lactobacillus reuteri (the probiotic mentioned above) contain healthy bacteria that help to keep your intestinal tract free of disease causing germs.
These teas contain the amino acid L-theanine, which gives your immune system a serious boost after only a few days of consumption.
Fight off bacteria from the outside, in, by strengthening and protecting your skin with the plethora of vitamin A found in Sweet Potatoes.
Garlic helps fight infection and bacteria thanks to allicin, an active ingredient that can even reduce the risk of certain cancers (i.e. stomach and colorectal).
A mild zinc deficiency can increase your chance of getting sick, and since beef is a great source of zinc, stocking up on it in your diet is a good idea, especially in the winter months.
Studies show that mushrooms increase the activity and production of white blood cells. This makes them more aggressive which is what you want when you have an infection.
These two specific grains contain the fiber, beta-glucan, which has antioxidant and antimicrobial capabilities. They have been shown not only increase the effectiveness of immune systems, but also help antibiotics to work better.
Shellfish that are rich in selenium (lobsters, crabs, oysters, and clams help the body’s naturally produced white blood cells to produce cytokines, a protein that helps remove the flu virus from the body. Fish that are high in omega-3 fats (mackerel, salmon, and herring) on the other hand, help reduce inflammation in the body which in turn helps protect the lungs from colds.
One of the most helpful tips to staying healthy during cold and flu season is to simply avoid close contact with other people, especially those who might be showing signs of illness. If you live with the person who is sick there are extra precautions that you should take to kept keep yourself healthy.
Open A Window in a common area so that the air has a change to circulate and increase movement. It will decrease the chance of you catching the virus. Be sure not to leave the window open for too long, or around anyone who is already sick, as it could worsen their condition.
Keep Your Distance and if at all possible designate a “sick room” where those with the virus will stay until they are well again, so as not to spread their germs throughout the house. This will require you to get things for them every once in awhile, but it will also cut down on the amount of germs you come into contact with, so it’s worth it.
Get Your Sleep even if that means wearing ear plugs so that you don’t hear the other person/people in your house coughing away at night. You staying awake will help no one, but it will weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to the virus.
Get Out Of The House because the more time you spend cooped up in a house full of sick germs, the more likely you are to catch one of them and end up sick yourself. Take this as an opportunity to get out and socialize with your friends, just be sure to bundle up and take your sanitizer with you. You never know where else you may come in contact with a virus.
As with any time of the year making sure that you keep up your good health with a decent bit of exercise is always recommended, but take it easy during cold and flu season. There is a 72 hour window of time after a moderate to intense workout session in which your body is more susceptible to getting sick. To avoid putting your body in unnecessary danger, simply tone down your exercise intensity level. Try doing yoga, or going for walks rather than running, or pushing yourself on the weight bench. When you go to the gym, take extra precautions to wipe the machines or weights that you’re using before and after you’ve touched them and if you can, take a shower at the gym after your workout to avoid carrying germs home with you.
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