Oh no – those temperatures (not to mention humidity) are going down, and we finally are getting some relief from the heat. For those of us who are happy to see summer in the rearview mirror, it’s good news. However, it’s also typically the season where we can start to get sick. This year we have a bit more to be concerned about – we not only have colds and the flu, but we’re also watching out for that old coronavirus, COVID. (By the way, did you know that the common cold is also a coronavirus? It’s just a name for the type of virus, of which there are many strains.)
If you frequently get sick around this time of year, you may want to pay extra attention to these tips which can help you avoid getting sick, or at least not getting sick as severely. Most of these tips can fall under the category of common sense, although it’s not common sense for many people who have never been exposed to these maxims.
For those of you who know what I write about, it won’t be any surprise that I will start with nutrition! First of all, make sure you eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, because they have a ton of vitamins which help support your immune system. By the way, about 2/3 of your immunity lies within your gut, so digestion is a critical piece of building up your reserves to fight off incoming germs!
Drinking green tea has many benefits, among which are the antioxidants (flavonoids) they contain in abundance. Green tea has the power to reduce your blood pressure and overall reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular issues.
Eat and/or cook with citrus fruits, as they have lots of Vitamin C. If you cook with (and make salads with) varied colors of veggies, you will get a wider range of vitamins like Vitamin C. Of course, it never hurts to take a supplement as well. Red bell peppers are especially rich in Vitamin C.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies you can eat, either raw or lightly steamed. It’s jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
Garlic is another superfood for your immunity. It fights infections and might also be good for your arteries and blood pressure. It’s the allicin in garlic (and other veggies in this class) that is known for immunity. And it tastes so good (at least for most of us)!
Ginger is another superfood which fights inflammation; it may also be good for helping with pain and cholesterol. It’s wonderful gut-healthy food!
Assuming you eat dairy, yogurts that have live cultures are also very gut healthy. So, choose the types that do not have a lot of sugar in them.
Almonds are also very gut-healthy; it has Vitamin E, which is a wonderful, powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin D is also critical at this time of year because we’re no longer outside so much, getting exposure to the sun, which is how we can build up our reserves otherwise. So, taking a vitamin D supplement is likely a good idea for most of us. You can also focus on eating egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon, canned tuna, and beef liver if you want to get a nice supply from your food intake.
Exercise, or activity, is also especially important, especially as it gets colder and you’re indoors more. So, if you have a gym membership, by all means use it! You can also take walks in parks (bundle up please), or even walks through larger buildings like grocery stores can improve your daily step count. Exercise, or any other activity, like dancing, helps tamp down inflammation within the body and is a great tool for chronic disease. It reduces stress (and related hormones), revs up your white blood cells which are involved in fighting disease, even as innocuous as the common cold!
I don’t have to remind you to get both enough sleep and good quality sleep – it helps keep up your resistance to viral infections especially. During sleep time, cytokines are released which help your immune system.
If you’re using alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or other types of drugs, dial it down as this pounds away at the immune system. Did I really need to say this?! While you’re at it, dial back anything with sugar and refined wheat flour, as these will have a negative effect on our overall health, especially our immune response.
Also, use mindfulness activities – what works for you the best – to calm yourself down. There is a very succinct connection between chronic stress and physiological illness.
I could go on and on, but I know you get the picture. Love yourself and your loved ones enough to take excellent care of yourself so you can stay fit and healthy.
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
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