This time of year is cold & flu season. It’s cold outside so everyone spends more time indoors, and germs circulate making it very easy to catch a cold or the flu.
Your best defense against getting sick this season is a good offense: a.k.a a strong immune system. Knock on wood – I can’t remember the last time I had a cold or the flu. Even while we were travelling; John and I didn’t get sick once. Take my advice to strengthen your immune system, and avoid getting sick this season!
Your immune system relies on nutrients from healthy food for its protective qualities. Make sure you include lots of fresh fruit & raw vegetables, and choose whole grains & lean protein to ensure you’re getting all your vitamins & minerals. Think of healthy food as fuel for your immune system; when your body runs out of fuel; your immune system will grind to a halt. Include a banana or frozen blueberries in your morning oatmeal or smoothie, clementines for snack, raw carrots & hummus with lunch, and a spinach salad with dinner. Choose whole grains like quinoa & brown rice that are full of nutrients vs. processed white carbs, and include fish & organic chicken in your diet more often. It also doesn’t hurt to top up with supplements if your diet falls short from time to time: vitamin C, B50 complex and zinc are all good ones to take at this time of year.
Reduce your Toxic Load
Toxins, food additives, preservatives and pesticides are foreign to your body. You don’t want your immune system wasting its energy on de-toxifying when it should be saving it’s strength to protect you from getting sick! Reduce your toxic load: avoid packaged & processed foods, buy organic meat, follow the Dirty Dozen rules, and make the switch to healthy beauty products!
Move your Butt
I’m not going to lie, exercising at this time of year can be a challenge. It’s cold & dark in the morning & evening making it difficult to get motivated, but it’s so important for your immune system & overall health. Aim to spike your heart rate for 30 minutes, 3x per week, and make little changes to squeeze in some extra exercise: take the stairs whenever possible, park far away & power walk to the mall entrance or when you’re out walking the dog, include some running spurts to keep you & your pooch in shape. Exercising at this time of year can also help fight the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter depression.
I know, easier said the done, but stress has a real negative impact on our immune system. When you’re stressed your body goes into “fight or flight” mode, and if you’re constantly in this state your body starts shuting down: your digestive juices & enzymes become depleted, which means you don’t digest food properly & miss out on vital nutrients. And as you already know; your immune system needs all the nutrients it can get to stay strong! Remember, stress is just your reaction to situations. A healthy diet, reduced sugar intake, exercise & yoga can all help you manage stress more effectively.