HEALTHY LIVING: Staying well during cold and flu season

HEALTHY LIVING: Staying well during cold and flu season

As temperatures begin to drop, our immune systems can become vulnerable to cold and flu viruses.

The most effective way to ward off illness is to take care of your body before you’re ever exposed to any germs. This is best done by consuming a colorful diet full of fresh whole foods, which are rich in vitamins and minerals. Staying hydrated, active, and getting a proper night’s sleep are also paramount to maintaining a healthy immune system.

Unfortunately, our diets alone usually aren’t packed with all of the nutrients that we need from fruits and vegetables in order to maintain optimal health. This is where supplementation can prove to be very beneficial.

Since dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, it’s important to research the products that we purchase for consumption. As a health coach, I always tell my clients to make sure that the vitamins they purchase are verified by a third party organization, such as the National Sanitation Foundation, so that they know they’re getting their money’s worth, but also so they are confident that what they’re putting into their bodies is exactly what is present on the product’s label. 

Taking Vitamin C is especially beneficial for the immune system, and also for muscle recovery. Vitamin D is another important vitamin that has been shown to help regulate mood, and enhance Rapid Eye Movement sleep. A diet rich in Omega fatty acids and antioxidants is always a great immune system insurance policy throughout this illness riddled time of year.

Personally, I enjoy having blueberries every morning with my breakfast knowing that I’m benefiting my health and my palate. Raspberries, strawberries, grapefruits, spinach, wheat grasses, and lean meats are all rich in flavor and vitamins. I try to pack my diet full of these food sources and keep my supplements readily available for daily use. Ingredients for special home remedies that I use when I start to feel a ill can be found in abundance in my kitchen. I like to store these items in glass mason jars to ensure they stay fresh.

In the unfortunate event that I do fall ill, I reach for my cabinet stocked with these natural remedies to aid in my recovery. Apple cider vinegar mixed with fresh lemon juice is a great way to alkalize the body and flush out any acidity. The supplement glutamine is an amino acid and is often touted as an essential intra-workout supplement in the fitness world. But it is also great for gut and immune health. I take glutamine as a flavorless, white powder. I often mix it with some other amino acid blend that I get at my local vitamin shop, in addition to my green powder.  Another favorite of mine is gargling with salt water, which has been shown to reduce swelling in the lymph nodes and glands. Even if I feel a slight soreness in my throat I like to do this nightly as a precaution, and I also find it soothes my allergies.

There is no substitute for a visit to the doctor if your illness persists for more than a few days, or your symptoms are severe. But, rest assured knowing that these remedies are all readily available at your local shops and can help strengthen your immunity this cold and flu season.