Total Therapy Blog
Colds and Bugs and Flus – Oh My!
November usually marks the start of nasty weather, colder temperatures, and of course, flu season. Kids come home with the sniffles, co-workers show up with head colds, while the rest of us glumly wait to catch the next flu “going around”. Getting sick is not a foregone conclusion, though. There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself healthy during flu season. Here are a couple suggestions:
1. Wash your hands!
Easily the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease, handwashing is key to staying healthy. To wash effectively, use warm water and regular soap. Do NOT use antibiotic soap. Wash for a count of 30 – or, long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
2. Eat your greens.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage contain immune-system boosting nutrients that boost your body’s defences against bugs. Chemicals in these plants, called phytochemicals, enhance the presence of immune cells in the skin and digestive tract, preventing infections from entering the body. A broccoli a day keeps the doctor away!
3. Get adequate sleep.
Sleep plays a big role in how well the immune system functions. Too little sleep or interrupted sleep has been shown to lower immune function in humans (http://www.fasebj.org/content/10/5/643.short). In general, adults should get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night, although this can vary from person-to-person (http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx#). A good rule-of-thumb: if you’re nodding off at work, chances are you’re not getting enough.
Moderate physical activity has a supercharging effect on the immune system. Studies have shown that during physical activity, immune cells circulate through the body more quickly, and are more effective at killing off nasty viruses and bacteria (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/injuryprevention/a/Ex_Immunity.htm
). Go for a brisk 30 min walk once a day as an easy way to give your immune system an extra kick.
5. Manage your stress.
Chronic stress causes a series of physiological responses that have an inhibitory effect on the immune system. The result is that your body is less able to deal with infection, and you become more susceptible to becoming sick. Don’t let stress cost you your health. Take some time for yourself: go for a walk, try a yoga class, have a massage – do something for you!
Looking for other ways to stay healthy for the holiday season? Tired of getting sick? Build a better immune system and boost your well-being! On Saturday, Nov. 19th at 3:30 p.m., take part in an insightful, unique, and empowering presentation on how natural nutrition can help you be at your best.