It’s that time of year again, and people are calling in to work with the flu from coast to coast. As if the dealing with the winter doldrums during this time of year isn’t enough, our bodies are vulnerable to illness as well. No need to panic, if you haven’t gotten sick yet, we’ve got five great natural ways to boost your immunity and get you through “sick season.”
1. Vitamin D
Remember when we were kids and our parents always gave us orange juice and lots of other vitamin C-rich juices and foods when we were sick? Turns out they were off by one letter in the alphabet; vitamin D is actually the most effective vitamin for preventing illness and maintaining bone strength. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but the winter months are not the best time of year for getting enough sun, so eating foods rich in vitamin D are crucial. Many of us can take refuge in an increase of salmon and tuna in their diet, and vegetarians can do themselves a solid by increasing their mushroom intake.
Other than vitamin D, certain foods are great for fighting illness because they have crucial antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that help prevent infections from taking hold and spreading. Garlic is one of the best examples, and eating more garlic can help you stay healthy and ahead of the cough curve. The only major drawback is when you go to kiss your sweetie and you get turned away (not to mention if you’re a vampire, but then you wouldn’t have to worry about getting sick in the first place, would you?)
Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, “Early to bed early to rise, makes a (person) healthy, wealthy, and wise.” The truth is, when your body is tired, it doesn’t have the strength to fight off infection. Everyone’s sleep habits and needs are different, and making sure that you’re getting enough is a vital tool when fending off disease. Regulate your sleep routine, and try turning off the TV when retiring to the bedroom for the night.
Whether it’s physical or mental health, you just can’t beat getting up and moving to stay ahead of getting sick. Start simple if you’re not used to getting physical; even walking for 20-30 minutes daily can help give your immune system an extra boost. Next thing you know, you might even end up at the gym or registering for a 1 mile or 5k run.
Water, water, water: You can never say it, or get, enough of it. It may be cold outside, but it is never more important during winter and cold and flu season to stay hydrated and drink water. That translates into at least six to eight glasses of water a day. It keeps your energy up and also helps boost your immunity. You should also try to steer clear of too many sodas or too much alcohol which can both leave you dehydrated and with a weakened immune system.