Colds, flus, and other bothersome illnesses are prone to attack during colder months. In fact, many Québec emergency rooms are filled beyond capacity with flu cases. However, you can avoid hospital visits and stay healthy in the winter if you devote yourself to the following, natural, steps:
Wash your hands: Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick as well as spreading germs to other people you may be in contact with. Numerous diseases and conditions (including respiratory illnesses, like the common cold) could be avoided by using soap and clean, running water (for at least 30 seconds).
Boost your immune system: By sticking to this simple vitamin cocktail: Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc.
Vitamin C will give you the antioxidants that your body needs to stay healthy, lessens the duration and symptoms of illnesses, and supports healthy immune function. You may think that oranges could provide you with the highest amount of vitamin C, however there are other great (and yummy) ways to get your daily dose: chili peppers, red bell peppers, kale and broccoli all contain more vitamin C than its citrus counterpart.
Your body needs vitamin D throughout the year to keep your bones healthy and strong. During the summer, our skin can make large amounts of vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun. However, during the winter you can get your vitamin D dose by good food choices such as salmon, tuna, mushrooms, eggs and milk (including soy, almond and coconut!).
Finally, Zinc plays an important role in immune function- its anti-viral properties help fight the common cold. Additionally, zinc plays a role in vision, hearing, growth and fertility. You can find zinc in animal-based sources like beef, lamb, turkey and seafood. Vegetarians and vegans don’t fret; vegan zinc capsules do exist.
Stay active, but don’t forget to rest: Regular exercise can strengthen your immune system as well as fight off bacterial and viral infections. When you actively get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate throughout your body more quickly, helping them seek and destroy infections. But don’t forget to give your body time to rest after strenuous exercises; lack of sleep and overworked muscles create a breeding ground for viruses and germs to take over.
Stay hydrated- correctly: Skip the sweetened drinks for filtered water; sugary drinks can spike your glucose levels, which can damage your immune system over time and make you more susceptible to colds and flus.
Finally, something you’re probably already eating every day: Garlic! Like other natural supplements that stimulate your immune system, garlic may decrease the frequency of the common cold- by as much as 64%! For maximum benefit, chop or mash a few cloves into your food, daily. And then go buy a pack of gum, daily.