As much as we may resist it – its back. Cold and flu season. And if you’re pushing your limits and burning the candles at both ends, you are bound to get sick. Although it can be next to impossible to go the whole season without picking up something at one point or another, you can boost your chances of getting sick less often and recovering quicker when you do with five healthy changes.
1) Eat well: Now more than ever it is important to fuel your body with nutritious, vitamin-rich foods and avoid immune suppressing caffeine and sugar. (What’s that? Why didn’t I tell you this before Halloween?) Fortunately the cooler weather beckons delicious, comforting fall dishes full of yummy winter squashes, dark green kale and hearty grains. Use the cooler weather as an excuse to get toasty next to the oven while the aromas of fall cooking fill your house. **
2) Get moving: Somewhere out there I am pretty sure there is research showing the relationship between cooler temperatures and a drop in motivation. But fight the urge to hibernate and be sure to get your body moving every day. Getting your blood flowing and your body warmed up for even half an hour every day is proven to boost your body’s immunity. And when you do feel a cold coming on, resist the urge to sleep the day away until after you’ve done some easy exercise – it will help you get over that cold faster (but don’t overdo it, too much exercise during a cold will fatigue your body and leave your immune system weaker.) So, get outside for a brisk walk and get a little pink in your cheeks!
3) Get some Zs: It’s common sense that if you’re exhausted, you are also more susceptible to getting sick. So TiVo American Idol and get to bed early enough to get a full night’s sleep. Everyone is different in their sleep needs, but in general most adults need 7 hours. If you find yourself dragging during the day, then try getting more sleep time each night. When we sleep our bodies heal and recover from illness, so give yourself lots of extra sleep when you feel run down because this is usually the first sign that your body is getting sick.
4) Give yourself a boost: To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of supplements. Your first and best source of vitamins and minerals should be from the food you eat. But in reality, we don’t all eat well enough, often enough so during the season when germs run wild it is a good idea to be sure you are getting all the help you can through supplements. You can also give yourself even more of a boost by taking a homeopathic immune system booster.
5) Keep those hands off: Germs enter our bodies by one of three ways: mouth, eyes and nose. It sounds pretty obvious, but by regularly washing your hands with soap and hot water and by keeping your hands off your face you can severely cut down on the number germs that get into your system in the first place.
Now once you’ve gotten a full night’s sleep, eaten well, popped your supplements, had a nice walk and washed your hands – you have my permission to curl up on the couch under the warmest blanket you own with a good book and a glass of red wine and then call it a day. Cheers!
** Keep an eye on this blog, in the weeks to come I will be posting some of my favorite fall recipes and I promise that they are all packed with good mojo and yummy to boot!