It’s that time of year again when sniffles, sneezing, coughing, sore throats and even ear-aches seem to be happening all around us. Aside from walking around wearing a mask, or drying out your skin from the constant use of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers, what can you do? Well you’re in the right place to find out!
Believe it or not, your diet can actually reduce your risk of catching a cold or influenza during the change of seasons and winter months. By making a few minor dietary changes, although substantial, and smart lifestyle choices, you’ll be able to decrease the risk of sniffles, stuffy nose and the uncomfortable aches and pains that accompany influenza.
The Key: Modifying your diet and lifestyle BEFORE the cold and flu “catches” you.
How: Real Food!!! Healthy foods that are prepared in a manner that preserves the nutrients that our bodies desire and need should be the focus when preparing your families meals. Foods are better than supplements in the prevention of colds, flu and other ailments. Why? Because contained within the fruits, vegetables and whole grains that we SHOULD be eating in our daily diets is the total nutritional package. For instance, eating an orange is better for you than taking a Vitamin C supplement because contained within the peels of the fruit you’ll get magnesium, potassium, Folate, vitamin B6 and plenty of antioxidant-rich flavonoids.
MYTH: Although we have been taught and/or advised that Vitamin C is important for building a healthy immune system, one thing that advertisers have led us to believe but which scientific studies have been unable to confirm is that overdosing or taking massive amounts of Vitamin C supplements will not prevent colds or the flu. However, studies do indicate that a strong immune system will fight-off viral infections and a healthy immune system has been directly linked to the foods we eat. Eat better my friends!
So why is the consumption of Vitamin C better via the foods we eat vs. supplements? Because we also benefit from Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and the many flavonoids that are contained within fruits and vegetables that we consume. All of these nutrients together help build a strong immune system and improve total body health. Like working out with weights, you can build one muscle without impacting another. They all work together to build the total package.
Eating More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables throughout the winter months will do your body good. Unfortunately, people tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables during the season(s) that our bodies benefit the most from their consumption. Eating a minimum of (5) servings daily will help ensure that we consume adequate vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Granted, it is sometimes more difficult to find fresh fruits and vegetables, but have no fear – juices can be consumed too. Just make certain that you are obtaining 100% juices as many contain considerable amounts of added sugar with empty calories or are artificially sweetened.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are also beneficial so don’t eliminate this option from your daily diet. They are economical and convenient and you’ll be able to find many varieties in your grocers freezer section.
Remember, a healthy body is dependent upon all systems working efficiently. Therefore, eating a healthy balanced diet is key. Your diet should include lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds which will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs for general health. Healthy bodies = healthier immune systems.
A little detail you might not know is that lean meats, dairy, eggs and legumes provide your body with protein sources that supply amino acids that a body needs to build the components of one’s immune system. Lean meats also provide the body with iron and zinc, which if deficient in these minerals, can depress an immune system.
Now, saying “NO” to unhealthy foods is important too!!! Avoiding foods containing excessive sugar and unhealthy “fat” such as saturated and trans fats, is necessary in order to benefit from the “healthy” choices that you’re making. Don’t let the “cellophane” snacks sideline your positive choices.
Ten Tips to Avoid Catching a Cold or Flu:
1. Toss Your Tissues: If you use tissues/handkerchief(s) to catch your sneezes and clear away your sniffles, remember, they contain germs. One use should be all you use in order to eliminate the risk of lingering illnesses and spreading germs. Tucking these into your pocket or purse will allow the germs to “hang around” in places that you’ll surely be exposed again. Wash your hands often so that you can prevent the spreading of “cold germs”. Avoid placing your hands in your face, eyes, nose and mouth as they are sure to be transporting germs.
2. Eat Lots of Vitamin A: An essential nutrient in our diets that boosts the production of our body’s natural “defense” cells which are capable of eliminating viruses that result in colds. Taking 10,000 IU daily can reduce the risk of cold by 33% and like savings, that can be substantial in the overall scheme of things. Now, remember that supplements are offered in many forms, i.e. capsule, tablet, dissolving strips, and even powder formulas. Choose carefully and find those that will deliver and provide you the nutrients intended via formulation instead of simply “passing” through your digestive system. For information on products that are formulated and deliver 10 times more absorption of the necessary ingredients than most over-the-counter brands, visit me at the link below.
3. Vitamin C is Key: You can reduce the risk of contracting a cold by 85% by eating citrus, especially oranges. They contain bioflavonoids which strengthen our sinuses building an invisible wall that germs cant breach.
4. Get Lots of Rest: A tired body is a weak body and can actually double the risk of catching every virus that we’re exposed too. A body needs plenty of rest and being able to enjoy a deep sleep actually builds infection fighting antibodies within. By sneaking just (2) naps a week, you can reduce the risk of catching a cold by nearly 80%. Sweet Dreams!!!
6. Gargle the Tickle Away: Why wait until your symptoms are too far gone? When you feel the first tickle in your throat, begin gargling with warm salt water. By doing so twice daily, you can cut your risk of serious infection in half. How? Gargling eliminates the germs before they can make themselves at home in our throats.
7. Reduce Stress: I know you won’t believe this but by lowering your stress levels, you can actually help increase your body’s resistance by strengthening your “mental” and “emotional” state of mind. Plan a few fun things to do each week – and that doesn’t mean you must visit an amusement park, go on a cruise, etc….my kids use these as examples for stress relief. A simple walk, sightseeing, enjoying a movie, or simply a dinner out instead of in the kitchen can be quite relaxing. To learn more about managing stress, you’ll want to read: Handling Stress the Healthy Way.
8. Turn Off the Air Conditioner: Well, up north this probably isn’t an issue but down south, we’re typically running our air conditioners at full capacity to keep cool and comfortable. This information may make you think twice about adjusting the dial/controls on your Air Conditioner next time. When a body is chilled it narrows our blood vessels in our noses preventing our immune cells from doing their job in reaching the sinuses. If they are prevented from doing their duty – your risk of cold is increased by 20%.
9. Built-In Sneeze Catcher: Yes, our body’s are equipped with the perfect “sneeze” catchers…and I don’t mean our hands!!! By sneezing into the fold of your elbow, you can contain the spreading of germs. Your elbow isn’t able to touch your eyes, mouth, nose or someone else’s like a hand can.
10. Disinfect Contaminated Surfaces: While I cannot suggest that you run to the local supermarket and load up on disinfectants, I will suggest that you do the best that you can to control the spread of germs in your home, work environment, classroom, etc….Germs are so easily transferred from one to another and managing their spread is something to take seriously. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that store-brands and other commercial brands of disinfectants actually contain harmful toxins and ingredients that are actually more dangerous than they are good. Soap and water are effective in managing the spread of germs as are many natural products such as citrus and Thyme. There are natural products which are EPA Approved and kill 99.9% of germs such as staph, E. coli, H1N1 and more. For more information on where you can obtain effective, non-toxic, “natural” cleaning products, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Undoubtedly you’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat!” So, it stands to reason that if you eat healthy, you’ll be healthy. Today’s society has become overly dependent on pharmaceutical drugs and pills to “increase” their body’s resistance to common, everyday illnesses and to “fight” them when they visit. By simply modifying our eating habits to include a balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains we are able to obtain the same results.
Purchasing quality products is key and finding those that are toxin-free (pesticides and insecticides) can be a challenge. Visiting the organic section at your grocery store and purchasing items that are “certified” organic are more likely to provide the nutrients that your body needs and desires without the “stuff” is doesn’t.
I hope that these tips and suggestions help you make positive choices and changes in your life and help you avoid this cold and flu bugs. Remember, everything that we need to ward of illnesses is provided in the foods we eat. Eat Healthy My Friends.
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This article was originally published as an Expert Article in Ezine Articles by Randa Maloy. Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5239172.