It’s the holiday season and that means it is time for lot of festive fun! But do you know what else it is time for? Yep. You guessed it! Cold and flu season! These days, it seems that you can’t go anywhere without hearing somebody coughing or sneezing. Our social media feeds are flooded with posts from people complaining about being sick. Our kids come home from school, sniffling about not feeling well. With all that goes on during the holiday season, getting sick is the last thing you want to have happen to you! Fortunately, there are some ways that you can help boost your immunity and promote wellness in your entire family.
- Wash your hands: This is especially important if you spend a lot of time working out at the gym. Unfortunately, people who are sick don’t always stay home and rest (like they are encouraged to do). This means that when they blow their nose, cover a cough and then touch the gym equipment, those germs get transferred directly to that surface. That’s why it is so important to make sure that you are washing your hands right after you workout. You can even bring along some disinfecting wipes to clean the equipment surfaces prior to using them.
- Stay hydrated: This is important to do every day but if you feel like you are getting sick, it is especially important to stay on top of your water intake. Dehydration is a major issue that people face when they are sick. Loading up on your fluids can assist your body in relieving your symptoms whiling strengthening your body’s immune response. How do you know how much water to drink on a daily basis? Take your body weight and divide it in half. The number you get is the total amount of water you need to drink (in ounces). If you aren’t a fan of drinking water (because let’s face it, it is pretty basic), try adding some lemon juice to your glass. Not only will this help it taste better, it will give your body a boost of beneficial vitamin C.
- Make soup: Remember when you got sick as a child and your mom brought you a warm bowl of chicken soup? Turns out there is some science behind this bowl, backing up the fact that it can help you stay well (and feel better if you are already sick). A study that was published in CHEST suggests that the mild anti-inflammatory effect from chicken soup could be one of the reasons behind its ability to relieve upper respiratory tract infections, like the common cold. Drinking warm fluids has also been shown to aid in the movement of nasal mucus, also helping to relieve a stuffy, congested nose. So, if you are feeling a bit under the weather, make yourself a bowl of homemade chicken soup!
- Pump up your nutrients: We all know how beneficial it is to eat a diet full of nourishing whole foods. When cold and flu season arrives, it is especially important to pay attention to the types of foods you are including in your daily diet. Focus on eating fresh foods that are rich in antioxidants, like berries, apples, leafy greens and even almonds. Avoid eating processed foods that are rich in sugar and artificial ingredients. You want to be sure you are providing your body with real food that it can use to absorb those beneficial nutrients, helping to keep you well. To make this easy, get in the habit of making smoothies every day. You can add a variety of fruits and veggies to the mix, giving your body what it needs to look and feel it’s best.
- Move your body: Now we are not saying that you should go out and scale a mountain when you aren’t feeling well. Instead, you can do easy and simple exercises to ensure that your body keeps things moving. Mild to moderate exercise has been shown to help open nasal passages and temporally relieve nasal congestion. Most health experts recommend that exercise is okay if your symptoms are all “above the neck.” That being said, it is important to consult your local health practitioner to determine if physical activity while being sick is right for you.
Written by Margaux J Rathbun, NTP