The holiday season brings more than just jolly old men and candy canes. It also heralds the annual arrival of the winter cold and flu season. If you are dreading your yearly bout with a nagging cold, here are 8 things you can do now to power up your immunity.
1 – Drink Water
The human body is made up primarily of water. We need it to prompt cellular repair, and to flush away germs and viruses that we acquire through the foods and drinks we ingest or the air we breathe. Your immune system is compromised when you drink insufficient amounts of water.
Not only will water power up your immunity, but it will also help you sleep better so you will have the energy to deal with holiday stress and to power shop your way through the holiday season.
2 – Eat Healthfully
Your immune system requires care from you in the form of healthy nourishment. When you eat a poor diet, your immune system becomes sluggish and unable to ward off those viruses. On the other hand, when you eat healthfully, you are arming it to battle those unwanted germs.
Focus on eating a well-balanced blend of the following:
Lean proteins like chicken and white fish: These are lean, low-fat sources of protein that keep your immune system stocked with energy.
Greens: kale, collard, mustard greens. Greens are wonderful sources of the mineral iron as well as Vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Plus, they deliver much-needed fiber to help you eliminate waste.
Raw fruits and vegetables: apples, oranges, pears, or carrots. Keep these on hand to satisfy snack cravings. Opt for these instead of unhealthy snacks. You’ll get plenty of vitamins and minerals and eliminate those unhealthy choices.
Whole-grain rice, breads, and pastas: These options will give you added fiber which ensures gut health and improves your overall well-being.
3 – Take Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C is full of antioxidants that attack your body and weaken your immune system. You’re exposed to antioxidants through pollution such second-hand cigarette smoke, chemicals, and smog. While Vitamin C doesn’t cure the common cold or a round of the flu, you should take it daily to boost your body’s ability to fight off these diseases. This is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it dissolves, so you must take it daily through eating a healthful diet, supplemental tablets, or a combination of both. According to WebMD, your total intake should be 500 mg daily.
4 – Zinc is Vital
The mineral zinc is necessary to power up your immunity. In addition to helping your immune system fight off a cold or the flu, it can also shorten the length of time that your cold will endure.
Some of the foods that contain this essential mineral are as follows:
- Kidney beans
Zinc is referred to as an essential trace element. This is because you only need to intake small amounts of it. Also, your body doesn’t store zinc, so it’s important to take a supplement or eat zinc-rich foods regularly.
5 – Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an essential role in the health of your immune system because it aids in cellular repair. There’s one problem. Getting enough of it through diet alone is hard. Your body produces Vitamin D as a response to the sun shining on your skin. Thus, if you don’t spend much time outdoors, you can quickly become depleted of this vitamin.
Some foods that include Vitamin D are listed below:
- Fatty fish – sardines, salmon
- Fortified milk, yogurt, cereal, or orange juice
What are the environmental factors that cause you not to get enough Vitamin D?
- Living in an urban area of smog and polluted air
- Use of sunscreen
- Preferring the great indoors
- City life where tall buildings shade you from the natural sunshine
- High levels of melanin in dark skin tones
If you live in any of these conditions, see your doctor for a simple blood test to determine if you need Vitamin D supplements in your diet…before the flu season swings into full gear!
6 – Ginger Root
Ginger is a spicy root that’s often ground and used for a seasoning. While it makes a great apple pie, it’s also an often overlooked aid that amps up your immune system. Ginger contains a substance called gingerol. This is a bacterial inhibiting powerhouse that can help you fight off bacterial respiratory ailments.
In addition, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. So, if you do feel like you’re getting those first aches and pains, it could help alleviate those symptoms as you buck up and suffer through your oncoming cold.
7 – Try a Neti Pot
A Neti Pot is a commonly used and accepted practice to help boost your immunity. It’s an ancient eastern custom to irrigate and cleanse the nasal passages that’s now embraced by western doctors, as well.
How does it boost your immunity? The common cold often starts through breathing in germs through the nose. Small, dry cracks in the nose allow the virus to flourish. However, when you use a Neti Pot, you cleanse away those microscopic invaders while hydrating the nasal passages to protect and strengthen them. This takes some of the heavy load off of the immune system by preventing the virus from spreading through your body.
8 – Enough with the Nicotine
Nicotine products, including both smoked and chewed products, wreak havoc on your body. They introduce toxins into your body that cause not only weakening of the respiratory system, but they also deplete your immune system.
Once you do quit the nicotine habit, your body usually starts to recover quickly. This allows your immune system to regain its optimal capacity and continue to fight off illness.
Cold and flu season will arrive along with the holiday festivities. Act now to power up your immunity so you can sing “ho ho ho” instead of dealing with the flu, oh no!