With all the madness in the world getting us down at the moment, the last thing you want on top of everything else is to get a cold or the flu. As the mercury level drops, it becomes even more important to take extra care of your body to maintain your health and fight off every kind of virus and infection that’s going around.
Here are 5 important ways to help you do just that, by boosting your immune system and keeping you strong and healthy during the winter months.
1. Strengthen Your Gut
The microbes that live in your gut not only help your body digest food, they also help regulate your metabolism, hunger, weight, and immune system. .A strong immune system relies heavily on having a healthy, well-functioning gut as 70% of your immune system is in the gut and probiotics help keep your gut engine humming. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help reduce inflammation and prevent infection; they may also reduce the severity of a cold or flu. Additionally, fermented foods, such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir support bacterial health.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
Eating foods high in antioxidants, such as vegetables and fruits, will boost your overall health and help protect you from the flu and other viruses and infections all year. The anti-inflammatory properties in nutrient-dense foods, like dark leafy greens, berries, salmon, and sweet potatoes, help build up your immune system’s defences. You should “avoid sugar, gluten, and processed foods, all of which dramatically decrease immune function. You can start your day with a smoothie full of healthy fats (almond or coconut milk, avocado, and/or almond butter), frozen berries, chia seeds, and a good protein powder. A great superfood is bone broth, which can be used as a base for soups and stews for added nutrition and immune support.
3. Try Adding Zinc
While vitamin C should be part of your flu season regimen thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, and antibiotic qualities, there is another nutrient that can help curb cold symptoms fast. Studies show that zinc, which can be found in foods including pumpkin seeds, spinach, oysters, nuts, and beans, can help shorten the duration of a cold by a few days. That’s because it has powerful immune-boosting and protective effects and may stop the replication of a cold’s cell. If you feel a cold coming on, supplement a healthy diet with 25 mg of zinc per day on a short-term basis.
4. Keep Surfaces Clean
One of the easiest ways to contract the flu virus is touching contaminated objects and then putting your fingers near your mouth and eyes. Some contamination hot spots are phones, computers, and desks. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that have been shown to help treat psoriasis, nail fungus, and acne, You can also use it as a cleaner.
5. Continue To Exercise And Get Enough Sleep
As if you needed another reason to break a sweat, torching some calories can also reduce your risk of catching a cold. Research shows that people who exercise in moderation report fewer colds. Exercise is an immune-booster and it can be helpful if you feel well enough to do it. However, don’t sacrifice sleep in order to exercise; getting enough sleep is a key component to a flu-free winter. Aim for eight hours of sleep a night and try taking a 20-minute power nap if you’re falling short of that.