Staying healthy during the cold and flu season can seem like a fairytale. Completely getting through the winter and spring without a cold just doesn’t seem possible. But, the body works in wonderful ways and by supporting your diet and lifestyle with what it needs, you can keep as healthy as possible and avoid many of the problems associated with illness.
First, though, we want to make sure you know that your body is fighting off hundreds of different bacteria and viruses that cause colds and flu every day. We are exposed to so many all the time.
But, our immune system easily fights off most of these invaders without us feeling sick. It’s only when we come across something new or especially strong that our body has to ramp up our healing factors, which is why we feel sick.
There are two significant ways to avoid getting sick during the cold and flu season. The first is to avoid contact with people who are sick. If you don’t expose yourself to things that are going to bother you, then you won’t be bothered. The second way is to shore up your defenses. This is what we’re going to cover here today.
1. Be clean, not sterilized
Bacteria thrive in dirty places. So, wash your hands with warm water, clean up messes on the counter
with water and natural products like vinegar, pick up garbage and trash, and dust. Without these places to breed, the bacteria that may harm you stay out of your life.
You should avoid chemical cleaners and antibacterial products. Both the chemicals and the tetracycline suppress the immune system and are carcinogens. Your body has to spend energy and resources to get rid of the toxins from these cleaners that could be better spent fighting off bacteria and viruses. Plus, most of those cleaners aren’t used properly.
The most popular disinfectant wipes need to have constant contact with a surface for 30 minutes to be effective, not the brief swipe most people do.
2. Get good bacteria working for you
Your digestive system is one of the first defenses we have for coughs and colds. Many of the bacteria and viruses we come in contact with get into us through our mouth and in our food.
We have a natural layer of probiotic bacteria lining our mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestine. These probiotic bacteria help us to digest food, produce nutrients, and outmuscle harmful bacteria and viruses. Eating foods rich in probiotics or taking quality supplements help bolster the natural probiotics in your system and gives you a leg up on defeating the invaders.
3. Low sugar for high energy
Even though sugar, or glucose, is our primary energy source, too much suppresses our immune system. By eating a diet that’s low in refined carbs and added sugars, you provide your body with enough carbohydrates to sustain healthy energy, but not enough to overwhelm your system.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the top antioxidant for keeping healthy and supporting the immune system. It’s used in most processes throughout the body and especially good for fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses.
You can read more on our vitamin C article, plus useful tips on how to eat foods rich in vitamin C and how supplementing can help boost your levels.
Most people don’t think of exercise as an immune-boosting activity, but it is incredibly vital for our immune system. Our lymphatic system needs motion to clear out toxins and help move the immune system around the body.
Exercise, especially on a regular basis, regularly flushes out the lymphatic system and gets rid of toxins, wastes, and excess hormones.
Exercise also raises your core body temperature. A fever is a natural way our body fights bacteria and viruses. During exercise, we can raise our core body temperature by 3°, creating a mini-fever. It helps keep the body clear of harmful invaders.
Another important benefit of exercise for your immune system is through expelling mucus. Mucus is a thick layer of fluid that lines the sensitive membranes of our body. One of its purposes is to catch bacteria and viruses and flush them out of our body before they have a chance to do us any harm. Exercise helps to shed old mucus layers and the bacteria they caught.
The final tip we have for you is to get outside and do activities. Most people don’t realize that colds and flu need warm and moist environments to thrive.
During the summertime, the cold and flu bugs multiply rapidly in the humidity of summer, but we spend so much time outside and in the fresh air that we don’t have a chance to interact with most of them. But, in the closed up atmosphere of our house and work, these bacteria and viruses have a better chance of getting caught and causing us problems.
We also know it’s a bit tough for getting outside and exercising during the cold winter months. We still recommend getting outside, especially in a little bit of sun, anytime you can. Not only will it help you clear out your system, but it will brighten your mood as well.
If it’s too cold outside for you, we recommend visiting a gym, school, or a mall. Most malls open early for groups of people who regularly walk. Additionally, most schools have set aside time before or after school when adults can come in and use either the indoor or outdoor track. No matter where you go, the point is to get outside and into fresh air.
So, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, getting exercise, and getting outside is your best bet for staying healthy during this cough and cold season. You can also check out our Immune Booster Article and the numerous posts we have on eating healthy foods and getting exercise.