With cooler temperatures and school days now in session, set yourself up for success. It is time to show your immune system a little love and attention. It is much easier than you think to take good care of yourself. As in many areas of our life, we often make things more complicated than they need to be.
Eat the Rainbow!
Eating a wide variety of colourful produce will help provide you with all kinds of vitamins, minerals & phytonutrients to keep you feeling in tip top condition.
Strawberries, bell peppers and citrus are great sources of vitamin C. Eat these often to help ward off the common cold.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, can provide nausea relief, support overall digestion and may help support blood sugar regulation. Say goodbye to ginger ale that is laden with sugar – nearly 10 tsp per can and chemicals! Instead, brew yourself a cozy cup of ginger tea by dicing a 1 inch chunk ginger into small pieces. Steep in boiling water for about 5 minutes and add a little local, raw honey – a great source of antioxidants, helpful for seasonal allergies and provides natural cough relief.
Garlic not only tastes great, it can help reduce the frequency and duration of the flu and colds. It a great source of vitamin C, B6 and manganese.
While it is awesome to include these heavy hitters in your diet, one area that often gets out of hand over the summer with ice cream shop stops and backyard bevvies is our sugar consumption. Refined sugar is actually considered an anti-nutrient. This means that it actually uses up our body’s valuable resources to process and leaves behind an unwanted energy crash, tooth decay and we store the extra as fat. In the case of our immune system, it actually hinders its ability to function effectively. I could literally put together a whole post on sugar and have in the past. I won’t go into all the nitty gritty here, but please, for the sake of your health and that of those you love, reduce your sugar consumption!
Drink Plenty of Water
When we don’t get enough water, we become dehydrated, tired, constipated and cranky. We may experience frequent headaches and eat more than we need because we think we are hungry when actually we just need some hydration.
Your best bet for hydration is good old fashioned water! Get yourself a snazzy water bottle that will inspire you to drink more water. Flavour it with lemon & mint or blueberries & ginger. Drinking caffeinated bevvies all day is not going to get you where you want to go. These types of drinks are going to spike your blood sugar levels and prevent you from getting pure & clean hydration that water provides.
How much water you wonder? The average adult would do well to drink 8 cups of water or about 2 litres of water daily. Worried about spending half your day in the loo? Start slowly and add water gradually to avoid this. You body will get used to it over time and this will help prevent constant bathroom trips. If you often get up during the night to go to the bathroom, try and keep the majority of your beverage intake before 7 p.m.
Fermented Foods & Probiotics
Over 70% of your immune system function resides in your digestive tract. That means the health of your digestive system has a whole lot to do with your overall health. Keeping your digestive system well populated with friendly bacteria goes a very long way to helping you stay healthy. Food sources of probiotics are found in foods such as plain yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and fermented pickles. A good quality supplement is also a great insurance policy to ensure you are getting enough.
Go To Bed Already!
We live in a world of where we tend to borrow from tomorrow what we think we need for today. One of the ways we do this is by staying up too late and missing the opportunity to get all the rest and rejuvenation that our bodies are begging us for. The amount of sleep that we need to function varies from person to person. According to the Sleep Foundation, we should be generally aiming for 7 to 9 hours as adults. Children and teens need even more – 9 to 11 and 8 to 10 respectively. Click here for more information.
Create yourself a bedtime routine just as you have a morning routine. Generally speaking our bodies favour routine and respond quite well when it knows what to expect.
- Choose a bed time and stick to it. Aim to be in bed by 10 and lights out by 10:30 p.m.
- Keep technology such as laptops, tablets and smart phones out of your room. The flashing lights, notification sounds and temptation to look at in the middle of the night are disruptive to your sleep.
- Keep your room slightly cool for sleeping.
- Having trouble falling asleep? Have a relaxing bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salts contain magnesium which is helpful for tired & tight muscles and helping you find better sleep.
- Consider using a diffuser with a little bit of lavender or a sleep blend. The essential oils can help you sleep better and the added moisture in the room is a win-win for dry nasal passages and skin.
Wash Your Hands!
It really doesn’t get much simpler than this. Washing our hands goes a very long way to keeping us healthy. Wash your hands with soap but be sure to avoid anti-bacterial products as they can actually end up backfiring in the end. If you have children, peek in on them and make sure they are actually washing their hands well – in between fingers and back of hands often get missed.
What are your favourite strategies to stay healthy during cold & flu season? Comment below and share your tips and tricks.