You Can Avoid Colds and Flu This Season
I love this time of year! Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year -- with friends, family and loved ones, it's just a special time that makes me feel good. There is however the small little issue of cold and flu season which just plain takes all the fun out of this time of year if you so happen to get sick. Now, there are about as many theories on cold and flu season as there are people living on planet earth, some people see it as some kind of lottery over which they have no control. Still others accept getting sick as an inevitable rite of passage that they have to go through to pass from one season to the next. Then there are grandma's secret brews and remedies that taste so bad that they could only have been designed to shock your body back to health.
But you don't have to get sick.
Let's look at some of the ways to avoid succumbing to seasonal colds and flu's:
Get Enough Sleep
Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, and ideally no one should sleep less than seven hours per night. A study published in 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine backs this up with data showing that sleeping less than seven hours a night during the lead up to exposure to a cold virus makes you three times more likely to get sick than if you sleep eight or more hours.
Supplement With Adequate Vitamin D
The average American adult suffers from two to four colds per year and most of these colds occur during the winter. During the winter months most parts of the country don't have enough sunlight to allow our bodies to generate enough Vitamin D. And many of those people living in sunny climates avoid the sun to prevent sun damage or use sunscreen which not only blocks out the sun's rays, but also your body's ability to produce Vitamin D. Leading experts currently recommend a 5,000 IU dose of Vitamin D per day.
Get Enough Exercise
Light daily exercise for at least 30 minutes stimulates the immune system, so make sure you get on your Yoga mat as often as possible or at least get in a walk. Should you practice Yoga or exercise when you are sick? Absolutely. But listen to your body and don't overdo your practice or training. Heavy exercise on the other hand can depress your immune system making it more susceptible to colds and flu, so balance is the key here!
Stick to fresh, unprocessed foods. Look for vegetables, whole-grains, fish and meat (for those that eat it) and some fruits. Avoid processed and sugary foods as much as possible.
Get Enough Good Bacteria
Probiotics are actually friendly bacteria that may strengthen the immune system by outnumbering bad bacteria that cause colds. A study in Germany found that healthy men and women who took probiotics daily for three months not only suffered from shortened bouts of the common cold by almost two days but also reported reduced severity of symptoms, including headaches, coughing, and sneezing. Your probiotic supplement should be eneterically coated so that the bacteria can survive the acidic environment of the stomach and reach the intestines where they are needed.
So give it a try this season, who knows you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that you do have some say in whether you come down with a cold or flu... or not.