Many people mistakenly believe that colds and flu are inevitable when winter sets in. The fact of the matter is that there are many steps you can take to keep your immune system strong and your body healthy all year long.
1. One of the most important things you can do to ward off illness is to stay active. When it’s cold outside it’s harder to get motivated to go for a walk or for that matter, even a workout inside. But you can get exercise without having to endure the bitter cold. Check out your community recreation center for exercise classes or take a stroll at the nearby shopping mall. Avoid direct contact with germs on surfaces; use a gloved hand (or your scarf) to open the doors when you enter or exit public buildings.
2. During a recent interview, a well-known naturopathic MD revealed his secret to avoiding colds and flu while traveling around the world. He attributed his good health to washing his hands often. It’s hard to believe that something as simple as washing your hands can protect you from illness, but it can. So wash your hands often during cold and flu season.
Use warm water and soap; wash your hands, up to the elbows if possible, for 20 seconds. Rinse thoroughly to remove soap. Also, make sure the children in your life understand the importance of frequent hand washing.
3. Drinking plenty of fluids is another “stay-well” strategy for winter. Fluids, especially water, flush out toxins. The beauty of water is that it is readily available and it has no calories, salt or sugar. Bear in mind that fruits are comprised of 80-90 percent water, so they can be an excellent source for increasing the fluids in your diet.
4. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 percent of adults use some form of herbs, botanicals and enzymes to enhance their health and boost their immunity. Consider adding supplements to your diet. Look for these popular immune boosters.
- Vitamin C is especially helpful in strengthening the immune system.
- Vitamin D is an effective dietary supplement that infuses your body with all-natural vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for immune function and the metabolism of calcium. Without vitamin D, you would be susceptible to constant infection and your bones would be weak and brittle.
- Zinc is a mineral that is needed for a healthy immune system and is often sold as an over the counter natural treatment for the common cold.
- Echinacea is available as a dietary supplement that can be used to prevent or decrease the duration of the common cold.
5. It may surprise you to know that one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to nurture your mind, body and soul. Make sure you take time to pamper yourself. Indulge in a massage, a hot bath or an aromatherapy treatment session. Spend some quiet time with family and friends. Get plenty of sleep. Smile and laugh often. Focus on the positive people and events in your life.