You’ve heard it before – the “cold that’s going around” that seems to manifest overnight in the workplace. Add in door knobs, community break room appliances, open office work spaces and the seemingly unavoidable bathroom door handle, and you’ve got yourself a gauntlet of opportunities that can wreak havoc on your body. The only thing worse than the gauntlet? Going through it without armor. That’s right – we’re talking about a weak immune system.
Cold and flu season is upon us (January and February are the peak months!) and while the thought makes us want to run and hide, we are up to the challenge of putting on our game faces.
The name of the game is prevention. Here are some ways to sidestep the sickness shuffle:
- Eat for immunity: Munch to manage from the inside out by eating foods vitamin A and C rich foods. Red/orange vegetables and fruits are all rich in vitamin A and C – think sweet red peppers, carrots, spinach and broccoli.
- Shield the sugar: Sugar, most popularly known to lead to insulin resistance, weight gain in the body, and contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, also results in inflammation. According to Mark’s Daily Apple, after a large influx of starchy carbohydrates, or sugar, the release of disease-fighting white blood cells is suppressed, making you more susceptible to infections. For those with a sweet tooth, try a low-glycemic food that tastes great, like the sweet potato – anyone for Sweet Potato Poppers?
- Supplement: According to Murdoc Khaleghi and his book The Everything Guide to Boosting Your Immunity, “the supplement gaining the most popularity for increasing your immune defense is probiotics, which is increasingly supported in the literature and people’s experiences. These bacteria stimulate the lymphoid (immune tissue) in your gut, where actually a majority of this immune tissue resides in your body.” Looking for more? “A probiotic rich diet can protect from colon cancer, relieve inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance, improve oral health, and increase bioavailability of vitamins, nutrients and minerals in food,” according to Ben Greenfield. Have you ever made homemade kombucha? We did!
- Exercise: Khaleghi also mentions that “the single most effective thing you can do for your immune system is engage in various types of regular exercise. This stimulates expression of various immune factors and can substantially decrease your risk of all types of infections.” Whether it’s a workout DVD, a group fitness class or just a few extra laps around the block, every little bit helps.
- Sleep. No seriously, get some sleep: Make a concerted effort to use rest as a primary defense tactic against colds. Power down pre-bedtime by limiting your phone/laptop/TV/social media use, to prepare your body for sleep. Factor sleep into your schedule and don’t be afraid to bow out of activities just a little earlier to get much-needed slumber.
Already got sick? “Though we have yet to definitively cure colds and flus, there are ways to make them heal faster. The supplement which shows the most promise to decrease the duration and severity of the common cold is zinc, whose effectiveness varies based on dose and form. If taken during the first 48 hours of an upper respiratory infection, it is believed to decrease the spread of such an infection,” says Khaleghi. Foods high in zinc include beef, lamb, pork, chicken, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds.
If you’re looking for supplements that can help stave off sickness, don’t forget that as a WellnessFX member, we’re pleased to offer members direct access to supplements from Thorne Research, which are available through medical practitioners and select resellers.
What are some things tried and true methods you use to avoid getting sick? Tell us in the comments.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.