Cold and Flu Season is Upon Us. Has your house been hit yet?
During the winter months we tend to spend more time indoors. Spending more time indoors means more exposure to germs and not as much vitamin D. Our immune system is weakened during the winter months due to these factors. In turn, we become more susceptible to winter colds and the flu.
Tips for keeping your immune system strong:
- Eat a nutrient dense whole food diet and limit your sugar intake.
- Drink an adequate amount of purified water. You should drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day and more if you drink diuretic beverages such as coffee.
- Get plenty of sleep. This may be 7, 8 or 9 hours per day, it will vary person to person. Your body needs sleep to restore, grow and repair itself.
- Keep your gut health by eating probiotic rich foods or taking a probiotic supplement, 80% of your immune system is in your gut.
- Increase your vitamin C intake. Reliable sources of Vitamin C are citrus, berries, and dark green vegetables.
- Reduce stress. Stress can wreak havoc on the body and lower the immune system.
- Get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Vitamin D helps strengthen your immune system. If Vitamin D from the sun is not an option, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.
- Get moving. Doing something active daily will help increase your immune system, improve your sleep and help keep you healthy.
Sometimes despite our efforts, we still end up feeling under the weather. Here are some tips for fight off illness when it hits:
- Drink plenty of hot liquids; such as hot herbal teas, hot lemon water, and bone broth.
- Hydration is extremely important. Drink plenty of water, see tip 2 above.
- Remove grains, dairy, and sugar from your diet.
- Getting plenty of rest is key, do not push yourself while you are sick. Take the time to rest, relax, and recover.
- Take Vitamin D3 (the common name for cholecalciferol), high doses of Vitamin C, and zinc. Zinc has shown to reduce the severity and shorten the duration of a cold.
- Gargle and drink Apple Cider Vinegar. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water several times per day will help kill many viruses and bacteria.
- Take elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup is full of key nutrients such as dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Elderberry is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Take this every couple of hours.
Implement these tips at the first sign of a sickness and continue with them until you are no longer experiencing any symptoms.
Jamey Floreck, NTP, CPT