Being that we are in the middle of the winter season with the new year passing new goals are being set and deadlines are being met. Getting back into the hustle and bustle of things can put stress on our bodies, which means it’s a prime time for those cold and flu bugs to be passing around. Whether you are fighting a cold/flu or avoiding one here are my top 6 tips in keeping you healthy during the winter.
EAT NUTRIENT-RICH FOODS
Incorporating foods that are nutrient-rich and easy to digest will allow your body to absorb nutrients that will keep you feeling energized and healthy. Often you’ll hear a doctor or dietitian say sticking to a liquid diet when sick because the food in liquid form doesn’t require your digestive system to work as hard and will conserve that energy for it’s immune response. This would include stews, soups, smoothies, and juices. If the body is able to handle solid foods incorporating fruits and steamed vegetables are great to get more vitamins and minerals in.
Drinking lots of fluids is also very important to prevent or remedy a cold or flu. It is common for the body to become dehydrated from fighting an infection. Fluids work to buffer for rises in body temperature and clear thick secretions caused by respiratory infections. Drinking hot tea is my favorite when I’m feeling out of it: teas made with Echinacea, ginger, lemon balm, lemon grass, sage, and peppermint are great for sore-throat soothing. Black, white and green tea is good for destroying pathogenic bacteria. Alkylamines, a chemical found in tea, are weak enough to not activate our immune’s systems T cells but keep them in a state of readiness.
SLEEP - Z Z Z Z Z
Yes, my favorite thing to do. We’ve all heard how important it is for our health. An observational study done in 2012 found that those who slept less caught more colds and had weaker antibody responses to vaccinations. Insufficient sleep has shown to reduce the functioning of cells like natural killer cells and lymphocytes that work for your immune response. When it comes to fighting infections sleep is the time where our bodies are working it’s hardest at regulating our immune systems.
REST AND RECHARGE
For the same reasons that we need sleep staying rested will help conserve energy for our bodies to fight full throttle against infections. Time to show yourself some love and “me time” – take this chance to recharge. Set yourself up with a cozy blanket, a nice book or movie and hot cup of tea.
STEAM IT UP
Raising your body temperature and breathing in steam is great for respiratory infections. I notice whenever I use a steam shower my cold is gone within 3 days. Ease into the water slowly, whether it be a shower or bath. You can also add some epsom salts and essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender, which is perfect for relaxing.
Not to sound like your mother here, but let me tell you she was right. Washing your hands will help keep germs from being passed to you or to someone else. We often use our hands to cover our mouths and also touch things like handles that have germs on them. When you have the option for washing your hands with soap choose that over anti-bacterial products. Anti-bacterial products cause superbugs by making them stronger when the sanitizer does not kill them off. Also colds and flus can be transferred by saliva so making sure that you don’t share foods or drinks with someone who is sick will decrease the chance of you getting sick.
I'd love to hear what you do to stay healthy during the winter season. Feel free to share below!