The holiday season is right around the corner! That also means cold and flu season is as well. While you may like to be a hospitable host for the holidays, that’s not what you want when it comes to inviting potential pathogens into your body! Getting sick this time of year does not have to be an inevitability. There are lots of things you can do on a daily basis to help how your body responds to potential foreign threats.
Boost Your Immune System!
Your nervous system controls and coordinates everything in your body – including your immune response! Staying well adjusted ensures that your immune system is functioning at its best. And you want it to function at its best in the event that you come into contact with any potential pathogen!
Your immune response is beautifully designed to handle exposure to all kinds of pathogens; continue to do the things you know to do to keep yourself healthy and you’ll have the best chance of limited to no infection!
What should you be doing to stay healthy during cold and flu season? The same thing you do every day to promote health! Stay hydrated, eat well, exercise, go outside and enjoy the fresh air, unplug from social media and screens in general, sleep well, take your vitamins…and keep up with your chiropractic adjustments!
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
EAT A WELL-BALANCED DIET
Cooler weather and the holiday season often mean comfort food, which is not always the healthiest! You may not be in the mood for a salad this time of year, but soups and stews are a great way to incorporate veggies and protein while still getting that warm comfort of food. While supplies last, continue to buy fresh and local as much as possible! Fresh vegetables and fruit (in moderation) will boost your diet with antioxidants! Fresh meat, eggs, fish, oils, nuts and seeds will pack your diet with healthy fats. Long-grain rice and quinoa are great grains to have on hand as well! Frozen vegetables are a great alternative this time of year as well. Eating a nutritious diet is one of the best things you can do to optimize your health and not add extra stress to your body!
Excessive alcohol and sugar should also be avoided! These things directly impact the functioning of the immune system.
GET PLENTY OF REST/DON’T RUN YOURSELF DOWN
Sleep is crucial to the proper functioning of all systems of the body, including our immune system! If you’re feeling overly stressed and tired, try to catch some extra sleep to recharge! Stress drains our energy and makes us tired and more prone to illness. Listen to your body, and if you feel the need to go to bed early, sleep in, or take a nap, do it!
Drink water! All day, every day! Hydration is key to the proper functioning of the lymphatic system (which is part of the immune system). Being hydrated keeps the good things circulating and gets the bad things flushed out!
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress directly impacts the immune system. Studies have shown psychological stress impacts if and how severely people are affected by the common cold. Find a good source of stress-reduction that will work for you, whether it be meditation, deep breathing, journaling, walking, listening to music, prayer, yoga, exercise etc. Find what brings you peace and stick with it!
Fresh air and sunlight greatly boost the immune system! Fresh air is calming, but also boosts your energy! A daily walk should be part of everyone’s routine during this time. Plus a walk through the woods adds the additional relaxation element of nature. Even a short 10-15 minute break outside can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being!
Regular exercise is so important for overall health and well-being. Don’t let the cold weather impact your exercise routine. Get to the gym or get out for a run, walk, hike, or other outdoor activities! Regular exercise can also help with better quality sleep and stress reduction. Sounds like a win, win, win!
Keeping your nervous system strong is one of the best ways to keep your immune system in tip top shape! Your nervous system controls every other system in your body, this includes your immune system!
TAKE SUPPLEMENTS TO BOOST IMMUNITY
Any extra boost will help right now! Vitamin D is so essential to immune function and most people are low, if not deficient, this time of year. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Vitamin C, and Zinc can also help boost overall health and immunity. If you’re concerned about the quality of your diet, adding a good quality multivitamin can help. Superfood blends (we love the Organifi products!) can give you an extra boost of antioxidants as well! Finally, a good probiotic is essential to optimize gut health, which is crucial for overall health!
The only way to catch anything is by being a hospitable host. Do everything you can to make pathogens feel unwelcome in your body so you can stay healthy and energized this Fall and Winter season!
If you have any additional questions about how to optimize your health, please reach out! We are always here and dedicated to helping our patients and community Get Healthy and Stay Healthy for Life!