Learn to live a healthier lifestyle and strengthen your immune system this cold season with good habits like sleeping and exercising well, eating nutrient-rich foods and taking vitamin supplements. Use these five keys to thrive this coming cold season.
1. Eat Nutrient-rich Foods
Enjoy a diet of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to help boost your immune system. Avoid sugar (to reduce inflammation) and fatty foods, and drink sufficient water to keep hydrated.
You probably won’t get a prescription for chicken soup and garlic the next time you have a cold, but it might help you kick it, according to recent research. Common foods with special immune-boosting properties include:
- Honey (antibacterial properties for cold, flu and sore throat treatments)
- Garlic (antifungal, antibacterial immune booster)
- Berries (antioxidant properties that protect the immune system, destroy bacteria and viruses, and help fight disease)
2. Exercise for a Healthy Lifestyle
Regularly exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Physical activity improves immune function by increasing white-blood cells — your body’s natural defence against viruses.
3. Develop Healthy Ways to Handle Stress
Stress hormones impact the immune response. Cope with stress by practicing yoga, listening to music, taking walks, laughing and getting massages, all of which improve your immune system.
4. Sleep Well
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep helps repairs cells and lets the body continue to thrive the next day. Loss of sleep can result in a suppressed immune system, so be sure to catch those z’s even if you’re not feeling under the weather.
5. Supplement Your Diet
Vitamins A, B-complex, Vitamin C and D support immune function. Supplements offer reinforcements in addition to foods during flu season.
Vitamin A contains beta-carotene and retinol, both of which are important to immune function. Get Vitamin A in:
- Sweet potatoes
Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for it’s antiviral and antibacterial properties. Foods rich in C are:
- Bell pepper
As always, a doctor should diagnose any illnesses, but you can take more steps to make sure you and yours don’t get sick. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding or changing anything major in your or your family’s health plan.
Although you’re probably doing a few of these things on the list already, if you bring everyone in the household to the same standard, you can have a relatively illness-free season!