As we journey into winter, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to prevent colds and flu naturally. While I don’t think it’s always a bad thing to get sick because it allows the body to purge a lot of toxins, you may still want to avoid it. There are plenty of simple things you can do to help boost your immune system and prevent colds and flu naturally.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Too much or too intense exercise can actually stress the body. So look to get a moderate amount of gentle to moderate exercise that can help support the immune system. Taking walks in nature and doing things like yoga, has the added benefit of reducing stress, which is another way to support the immune system. In addition, physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. And similar to what a fever does, a brief rise in body temperature may help the body fight an infection. Exercise is good for so many reasons, but especially during the winter when we are wanting to prevent colds and flu naturally.
Avoid Known Allergens and Food Sensitivities
The body has to work extra hard to restore balance after being exposed to a substance that causes a negative reaction. The resulting inflammation causes the immune system to respond which will make it less available to fight of exposure to cold or flu germs. The most common food allergens are wheat, dairy, soy, and corn. Even if you don’t think you are sensitive to these foods, you may want to avoid them and load up on healthy greens and vegetables. Avoiding sugar and alcohol will also help strengthen the immune system and help prevent colds and flues naturally.
Get Good Sleep
The body does a lot of work when we are sleeping. During our deepest sleep, blood pressure drops, breathing slows down, blood flow moves to the muscles and tissue is repaired. Sleep is also thought to help the body suppress ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and stimulate leptin, which controls appetite. In addition, the brain flushes waste at 10 times the rate while we sleep and new pathways are formed for memory. And obviously, we feel and function better when we are well rested.
Take Natural Immune System Boosters
Most experts agree that it is really difficult to get everything the body needs from foods. There are just too many people on the planet and the farming has been intense for a long period of time now. Most fruits and vegetables don’t contain the vitamins and minerals that they used to. So it may be especially important to consider taking known immune system boosters if you want to avoid colds and flues naturally. Antioxidants fall into this category. Glutathione is an antioxidant and is responsible for enhancing your immune system and helping your liver with detoxification. Others include curcumin which is the orange pigment in turmeric and is a powerful antioxidant that improves joint health and cardiovascular function. And then there is the well known vitamin C which provides potent antioxidant protection, and supports optimal immune function. One of the most important vitamins for supporting the immune system is vitamin D. It is key to fighting off infections and supporting autoimmunity. Make sure you take vitamin D with vitamin K to make sure it is safely absorbed and doesn’t result in artery calcification.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
One of the common ways that colds and flues are transmitted is by contact with items that have the cold and flu virus on them. Some viruses can live on surfaces for hours. I prefer organic and natural soaps over conventional soaps. By washing frequently and thoroughly, you minimize your exposure to germs that you may have picked up on your hands. You may also use an essential oil, like lavender, that is known to discourage the presence of germs. If you want to be extra careful, pay special attention to your fingernails since germs often hide under them. Once your hands are clean, you can take precautions to not touch surfaces that have been touched by others who may be sick – like the faucet and doors in public restrooms.
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