We all know that when the weather begins to turn cold, it’s time to get ready for the cold and flu viruses to start emerging. Approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the seasonal flu during the late fall until the early spring.
Bear in mind that some groups of the population are more prone to contracting illnesses than others. Groups such as those 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, those with certain compromised immune systems, as well as health care workers. If you live with or work around people in one of these groups, take some proactive steps to get your immune system ready for the flu season.
Take your vitamins. A good multivitamin will do the trick in keeping your immune system thriving, however, specifically taking Vitamins A , B, C, D, and E has been shown to promote a health immune system.
Speaking of Vitamin D, many are unaware that during the winter months, their body becomes deficient in Vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D triggers infections, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease), cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Further, Vitamin D has been shown to be more effective in preventing the flu than a flu vaccine. The best source of vitamin D is sunshine! It’s important to get out and enjoy at least 10-15 minutes of sun per day (without sunscreen). As winter approaches, and it becomes harder to get natural sunlight, it may be necessary to take a daily vitamin D supplement.
Eat Healthy Foods. Everyone knows it’s important to eat healthy, but I think that most people underestimate the power that food has on the immune system. If you’re eating healthy and are exposed to certain illnesses, you have a greater chance of not catching it. Some foods that will provide you with optimum health are:
- Organic fruits & vegetables
- Fermented foods such as kombucha, yogurt, etc.
- Organic, pastured meats & eggs (including 100% grass-fed beef)
- Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts.
- Avoid sugar, especially refined sugars. Sugar weakens the immune system. If you need sweeteners, use raw honey, maple syrup, & stevia.
- Drinking teas high in antioxidants such as green tea can stimulate production of immune cells.
- Raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, & antiviral properties (LOCAL raw honey is best, especially for allergies).
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar per day.
- Eating nuts such as almonds have an immune-strengthening antioxidant.
Drink lots of water. Simply put, water helps to filter the impurities out of your body. Over time, this keeps your body functioning and in optimum health.
Get plenty of sleep: You workaholics out there need to pay attention to this. If you body does not get the needed amount of sleep each night, your health depreciates. Get a minimum of 7-8 hours per night. Further, if you feel your body coming down with an illness, stop pushing yourself and give your body what it needs: rest.
Exercise: Staying active 3-5 days a week for 20-30 minutes has been shown to not only help you stay healthy, but also increases your resistance to illness and helps you reduce stress all at the same time. How’s that for making the most of your time?
Keeping your body in balance and following the five listed tips can assist you in keeping your immune system strong during the months it is under attack.