Abrupt changes in temperature (chilly nights and occasional warm daytime) can throw your immune system out of whack. In colder weather we also tend to spend more time indoors, increasing our chances of catching a virus from a sick family member or coworker.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number of colds suffered in the U.S. each year could be greater than a billion. Modern medicine has yet to come up with a cure for the common cold, and no one food can remedy a cold or flu. However, the right combination of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, and anti-oxidants will boost your immune system.
Here are some tips to help you stave off colds and flu:
- Get proper amounts of essential vitamins, A, B6, C, and E, and minerals such as selenium, iron, and zinc. The main foundation of your diet should be fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and complex carbohydrates. But, some very specific foods with higher amounts of nutrients can be effective at preventing cold and flu viruses including: berries, bone broth, cabbage, honey, oysters and garlic.
- Relieve stress. Stress tends to slow the digestive process and affects your immune system. Take some time to relax. Maintaining an exercise routine and practicing deep breathing relaxation techniques can improve your digestive health and help alleviate stress.
- Maintain a regular sleep routine. Get an adequate night’s rest of at least eight hours nightly. Lack of sleep can also affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.
- Exercise. Moderate exercise of at least 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week increases a person’s immune function and reduces their chances of getting a cold.
- Take probiotics regularly. Probiotics can help boost the immune system and ward off inflammatory responses in the gut. During cold and flu season it’s important to consume foods that enhance the immune system in combination with probiotic supplementation, which play an important role in warding off the common cold.
A new study shows that taking probiotics could keep your kids healthy and in school this winter. Dr. Nigel Plummer says that children who took a probiotic supplement on a daily basis had 50% decrease number of coughs and colds during the winter and also a 30% decrease in absenteeism from school.
Make sure you and your kids stay healthy this winter season by eating healthy, exercising, and taking probiotics to boost your immune system.