- Amy Salman, Founder, The Wellness Map
11 Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu Season
Fall is here and that means cold and flu season has arrived. I'm already noticing many people are sick. Why is it some people seldom get sick while others are often ill? The answer lies in your immune system. The immune system is your body's defense against infections, and when it’s working well, it can help you avoid illness. Priming your immune system cannot only prevent illness, but shorten the infection time. Here are my top 11 immune boosting tips, from food to supplements and daily self care, which keep me super healthy all season, and are sure to do the same for you!
1. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables: Different fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Eating the rainbow (purple, yellow, green, orange, white, red) provides your immune system with powerful antioxidant support. Antioxidants help your body repair cells damaged by free radicals.
2. Add medicinal foods to your diet: Garlic is antimicrobial and helps fight infection and bacteria; ginger helps break down toxins in the lungs and sinuses and helps to cleanse the lymphatic system; mushrooms such as shitake, maitake, and reishi contain properties that are known to help fight infection.
3. Add probiotic-rich foods and supplements to your diet: Probiotics can boost the body’s immune function and help the body fight infections. Keeping your gut bacteria healthy enhances the immune system, and 70-80% of our immune system is in the gut. Foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain large amounts of “good” bacteria. Probiotic supplements may also help in reducing gastrointestinal infections. It's a good idea to vary your probiotic supplements since they all contain different strains of bacteria.
4. Avoid sugar: Sugar suppresses your immune system. "Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of two-and-a-half 12-ounce cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours."-Dr. Sears
5. Take Vitamin D: Vitamin D could rightly be described as a “miracle nutrient” for your immune system. It enables your body to produce well over 200 antimicrobial peptides which help fight off all sorts of infections. Ideally, you’d be exposing your skin to an average of 15 minutes of sunlight a day so your body could produce its own. Given the shorter and colder days of winter, we simply do not get what we need, so we need to supplement. It's best to have your vitamin D levels tested by your doctor to know the right amount for you.
6. Take JuicePlus+: Phytonutrients are vital for good health! Ensure your body gets the required amount of colorful fruits and vegetables it needs daily. 7-14 servings/day is what you need, and JuicePlus+ bridges the gap between what you're getting and what you're missing. Think of this as an insurance policy on the body. JuicePlus+ is 100% absorbed into the body and studies show it boosts immunity by 22%. Keep the kids healthy too! JuicePlus+ comes in delicious chewables that taste so good the kids will think they're eating candy. Bonus! Kids take it for free! You can check out more here. amysalman.juiceplus.com
7. Get proper sleep: Fatigue increases your susceptibility to illness, and insomnia can increase inflammation. The right amount of sleep gives your body the time to repair and rejuvenate itself. You require 7-8 hours a night to boost your body's defenses.
8. Move your body daily: Movement stimulates the lymphatic system and increases the level of leukocytes in your body, an infection-fighting immune system cell. Everything counts from walking, dancing, cleaning, jumping rope, functional movement, etc. Get creative and get moving!
9. Meditate: Start your day with deep breathing exercises or meditation. Long-term stress increases cortisol levels which suppress the immune system. Meditation helps to nourish the nervous system and relieve stress. Start with 5 minutes in the morning if you're a beginner, and work your way up to 20 minutes a day to receive the full benefits of this practice.
10. Drink water: Drink plenty of liquids, mostly in the form of water. It helps to energize, detoxify, and flush impurities from the system. Drink alcohol in moderation: excessive alcohol impairs the immune system. Rule of thumb: one a day for ladies, two for men.
11. Use a Neti-Pot & Humidifier: When you breathe in allergens, pollution, and other forms of irritation, mucus production can increase, setting the stage for congestion and infection. By performing a nasal rinse before this has a chance to occur, you can prevent and relieve symptoms that accompany sinus infections, common colds, and other illnesses. (I use NeilMed Sinus Rinse). Also use a humidifier to help reduce the risk of infections. Viruses and bacteria can’t travel as well in moist air. A humidifier could mean the difference between getting the flu this winter and remaining healthy. Use your humidifier from October-May. (I recommend Air-O-Swiss or Boneco)
GET EVEN HEALTHIER!
Would you like to learn more about how to stay healthy this cold and flu season? (And all year round?) Are you curious about how health coaching can help you live your most vibrant life? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about!
To your health & happiness,
© The Wellness Map