Now that it is getting closer to the winter months in the northern hemisphere, don't put off getting your immune system in tip top condition to prevent those seasonal colds and flu bugs. Nobody wants to suffer from the misery of colds and flu so this is a case where prevention is so much better than a cure.
Lots of things you can do to prevent a cold or flu naturally
- Keep those hands washed. Did you know that germs can live for hours and even weeks and you can so easily pick them up from the telephone, the keyboard and many other places especially when they are public? If you really cannot clean your hands and you are concerned, rub your hands together very hard for a minute or so to help break up most cold germs.
- Don't touch your face because cold and flu viruses could enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep that system flushed out – you know you are supposed to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day so make sure you do. If your urine is yellow, then you are already dehydrated. It should be the palest of yellow to clear.
- Take a daily probiotic in the form of natural yogurt or a supplement. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt should stimulate production of immune system substances that fight disease.
- Eat lots of those foods that contain phytochemicals. Phyto means plants and all those natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost so eat dark green, red and yellow vegetables and fruits.
- Get fresh air. Did you know that the inside of your house during the winter months is more polluted than a city? Other germs collect in your home, so open up the windows and doors to let the fresh air in and that stale, germ-ridden air out. Your body needs the oxygen of the fresh outdoors, not the stale air and pollution of inside a house or office – make sure you get at least 15 minutes walking time outside every day.
- Ensure plenty of vitamins from fresh fruit and veggies – oranges, grape fruits, lemons and guavas plus dark green vegetables are all great for vitamin C. We now know how important vitamin D is too. A few minutes of sunlight every day will boost your body's supply but if the winter days are dull and grey, you need to supplement with vitamin D3 to avoid being deficient. If your body does not get the proper nutrients it needs, it will fail to prevent a cold taking a hold. Zinc is important too.
- Drink an immune-boosting tea of echinacea or goldenseal or go for green tea. You can also take capsules or a tincture.
- Learn to relax, so that you can activate your immune system on demand. When you put your relaxation skills into action, your interleukins (leaders in the immune system's response against cold and flu viruses) increase in the bloodstream. It is not always easy to train yourself to relax. You can do this by picturing an pleasing or calm image. You should keep this up for at least half an hour daily. Learning to relax is a skill. If you try to relax but are bored you will not benefit.
- Take a sauna. Although researchers are not sure why saunas work well in cold prevention, one theory is that when you take a sauna you inhale air that is too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive. Whatever the reason, statistics have proven that those who don’t sauna are twice as likely to catch a cold.
- A regular half hour massage at the local Spa is also very beneficial in cold prevention. But if time or money is a problem, go for one of those foam rollers and use at home to massage all of your upper body as often as possible for the same result.
Bad for your immune system!
- Don't smoke as statistics show that heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequent ones. And I know it is true because I have seen it time and time again in the office situation. Even being around smoke can detrimentally affect your immune system. Smoke dries out your nasal passages and paralyzes cilia which are those delicate hairs that line the mucous membranes in your nose and lungs, and with their wavy movements, sweep cold and flu viruses out of the nasal passages. Just one cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 to 40 minutes.
- Cut the alcohol consumption as heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system in a variety of ways, making you more prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications. Alcohol also dehydrates the body causing more fluid loss from your system than it puts in.
- Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners as they depress the immune system and upset the body's mineral balance.
Nobody likes colds and flu – they make you feel miserable and downright unattractive. They take time away from your job and your family – often time you can ill afford. It is really worth while to do what you can to avoid them in the first place and by that, I do not mean having a flu shot.
So much better and safer to boost your immune system instead.