You may be familiar with the old wives tale, “starve a cold, and feed a fever”. Instead, there are more practical ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Check out just a few below!
Wash your hands
This is the single best way to prevent the spread of germs! After using the restroom, before handling food, after handling raw meat, after disposing of garbage, before touching your face, or any time where germs may be in question, wash your hands up to your writs in warm, soapy water for 30 seconds and dry your hands thoroughly to avoid the bacteria feeding ground (they thrive in moist conditions!) Try this: Next time, sing the “alphabet song” twice while washing up ~ that’s all the time you need! Whether you sing out loud or not is up to you
Hydration is essential for all of your body’s processes. A general rule of thumb is to consume water equivalent to half your body weight in ounces. For example, 150-lb person should drink about 9 glasses per day, or 72 ounces. Keep in mind that many foods you eat also contain water! Don’t like the taste of plain water? Infuse it with different fruits, herbs, or veggies!
Make sure you are getting a full night of restful sleep, generally 7 – 9 hours. Sleep helps your body reboot your immune system. Be sure to practice good “sleep hygiene” by eliminating distractions in the bedroom, such as electronic devices, and set the thermostat to a temperature that is cool, yet comfortable. Going to be at approximately the same time each night will also help set your body’s internal clock.
Break a sweat at least twice each week to improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and support a healthy immune system. Maintain your regimen in between work out days by going for a brisk 30-minute walk … a great way for couples and families to connect after a busy day! Fido would probably like to join you, too.
Eat nutritious foods
Eating healthy food is one of the best ways to build up your immune system. Try eating by color to obtain many of your vitamins and minerals! Here are a few food sources and a note about just one of their health benefits:
Vitamin A: Maintains health of tissue and skin
- Great source: Sweet potato
Vitamin C: Protects against free radicals
- Great source: Red bell pepper
Vitamin D: Maintains bone strength
- Great source: Fortified milk*
Vitamin E: Antioxidant
- Great source: Dark, leafy greens
*Sunshine is also an excellent, non-food way to receive Vitamin D! About 15-20 minutes per day is suggested.
Minimize the amount of stress in your life, as studies have shown that increased levels of stressed suppresses your immune system. Try yoga, meditation, get a massage, read a book, or participating in your favorite hobby! Want to feel like a kid again? Color something! This method has also been proven to relieve stress and open up creative pathways in your brain.