How to Stay Healthy This Cold & Flu Season

Fighting Colds & The Flu

Hacking coughs, body chills, muscle aches, runny noses, watery eyes … let’s face it, cold and flu symptoms are no fun at all.  Does it seem like the older you get, the worse the symptoms become?  Well, there is some truth to that.  Knowing how to stay healthy during cold and flu season isn’t as hard as it may seem.

Researchers have discovered that when a person is younger, they have a multitude of what is called naïve cells that help prevent illness to a greater degree.  As one ages, the cells die, making it harder to fight off germs and bacteria that can cause the common cold or flu.

THERE ARE MANY FACTORS THAT CAN WEAKEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Comfort Food

Who doesn’t love pizza and wings?  Utilizing take out all the time because you hate going out in the cold may sound like a great idea, but breathing cold, crisp air isn’t a death warrant.  Believe it or not, it’s actually good for you and even more so, if the restaurant is a few blocks away and you walk it. Comfort foods are all well and good in moderation.  Adding more fruits and leafy green vegetables to your diet is what your immune system requires to remain the mean, lean fighting machine it needs to be.

Lack of Vitamin D

Unless you’re living in the “Sunshine States” 24/7, you’re likely to be one of those in the seventy-seven percentile known to be deficient in Vitamin D.  If so, statistics indicate that 24-36% of you are more likely to develop colds because of it.  Adding yogurt, fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna, fortified cereal and milk, liver, and cod liver oil.  If you don’t have a great love for any of these items, adding a supplement probiotic to your menu weekly will decrease your chances of getting sick as they’re a great source of Vitamin D.

Continued Stress

Stress causes many severe health problems when it continues over time.  It cannot only compromise your immune system, but also its ability to fight off disease.  Removing the causes of stress is easier said than done for most individuals, because life in its simplest form can be the antagonist.  When a stressful situation arises, it is best to try and change your point of focus.  Go out to lunch with a friend, take a break or go for a walk, watch a funny video, or exercise.  Taking adaptogens will also help reduce levels of cortisol (stress hormone), let you enjoy a more restful sleep, support your immune system and help you perform better and recover faster.

Little or No Exercise

No one likes to put on their sneakers and venture outdoors to run, walk or go to the gym when the temps drop or the climate is downright crummy.  It’s hard to argue with the medical experts though … keeping up with an exercise program 4-5 times a week actually decreases ones chance of becoming sick.  Even without a home gym, you can still exercise by following one of the many programs on cable, purchasing a work out CD or hand weights for a few dollars at a second-hand store.

Bedtime Excuses

Did you know you stand a far lesser chance of catching a cold, if you’re sexually active with your partner at least twice a week, if not more?  Researchers at Wilkes University have indicated it helps defend the body against germs, viruses, and other intruders, as well as boost the libido, improve bladder control, lower blood pressure, keep your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance, improves sleep, eases stress, and lowers the risk of heart attacks and prostate cancer in men.

Free Radical Damage

Our bodies metabolize the oxygen we breathe pretty efficiently, but with the intense strain on our environment, a percentage of our cells get destroyed in the process and turn into free radicals.  Free radicals are damaged cells that wreak havoc in our systems.They cannot only attack and kill healthy cells, but damage them enough to create a seed for disease.  One free radical can cause a chain reaction that will affect the body’s ability to ward off infection and disease.  What to do?  Antioxidants will help to offset the assaults effectively.  If you follow the USDA’s advice as to the required servings of fruits and vegetables needed daily, all will be well. The problem though, lies in the fact that many don’t like the fruits and vegetables they need; don’t have the time to prepare them, or the money to purchase them.

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