7 tips for cold & flu prevention

Photo: Anna Gutermuth

It‘s officially fall. While I’m way excited to break out the cozy wool sweaters and trade sandals for fabulous boots, I’m not excited about my suddenly sore throat and runny nose… Ick! I’m sick. The body has a mean way of reminding us when we haven’t been good to ourselves. I’ll admit it: lack of sleep, exercise and proper nutrition is totally to blame (and that cotton candy I devoured at the Great Northern Exhibition was a big mistake). Yes, I should know better! I’ve been slacking on my health and now a virus is having a party inside me. Boo. Don’t let it happen to you, friends!

1. Get 8 hours of sleep every night. You need it to keep your immune system strong. If you’re not getting enough shut-eye, seek treatment ASAP. There are many effective treatment options, including herbal medicine and acupuncture.

2. Avoid sugar. Even just one sugary snack impairs the ability of your immune cells to attack invaders for several hours. If you’re picturing paralyzed white blood cells, that’s exactly what I mean. Snack on whole foods. Junk food trashes your immune defenses.

3. Wash your hands! Soap and water. You know the drill. Keep them clean throughout the day to prevent catching and spreading germs.

4. Deal with stress. It’s totally toxic to your immune system.  Sign up for a series of yoga classes, go for a daily walk, play with your dog, take a personal day, and treat yourself well with regular massage therapy and/or acupuncture. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek counselling and psychotherapy to help you work through difficult emotions with a professional.

5. Exercise. People who exercise are less prone to infections because their immune cells work better. Since lack of activity exacerbates stress and sleep troubles, being active has far-reaching effects for immune health.

6. Eat well for immunity. Include plenty of leafy greens, onions, garlic, mushrooms, squash, herbs and spices. Choose warming, nourishing foods supplying antioxidants, vitamin A, C, E, Zinc and Selenium.

7. Laughter is the best medicine. Studies show that having a good laugh or even just thinking about something funny can make your immune system better at fighting off infections.

Check out my upcoming cooking class all about immune health:

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