The first step in approaching cold and flu season is to realize that people are going to get sick. Your kids will be missing some school, and you or your partner will have to take some time off work, but hopefully no one misses more than a day or two.
There’s no perfect solution to avoiding every bug, short of hibernation and quarantining you and your family for months. What you can do is stay comfortable – that’s where Puffs come in – and follow a few easy tips for upping your immune system and mitigating those illnesses.
Of course, a doctor should diagnose any illnesses. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding or changing anything major in your or your family’s health plan.
1. Eat Nutrient-rich Foods
Enjoy a diet of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to help boost your immune system. Avoid sugar (to reduce inflammation) and fatty foods, and drink sufficient water to keep hydrated.
You probably won’t get a prescription for chicken soup and garlic the next time you have a cold, but they might actually help you kick it, according to recent research. Common foods with special immune-boosting properties include:
- Honey (antibacterial properties for cold, flu, allergies and sore throat treatments)
- Garlic (antifungal, antibacterial immune booster)
- Berries (antioxidant properties that protect the immune system, destroy bacteria and viruses, and help fight disease)
2. Exercise for a Healthy Lifestyle
Regularly exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Physical activity improves immune function by increasing white-blood cells – your body’s natural defense against viruses.
3. Develop Healthy Ways to Handle Stress
Stress hormones impact the immune response. Cope with stress by practicing yoga, listening to music, taking walks, laughing and getting massages, all of which improve your immune system.
4. Sleep Well
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep helps repair cells and lets the body continue to thrive the next day. Loss of sleep can result in a suppressed immune system, so be sure to catch those Z’s even if you’re not feeling under the weather.
5. Supplement Your Diet
Vitamins A, B complex, C and D support immune function. Supplements offer reinforcements in addition to foods during flu season.
Vitamin A contains beta carotene and retinol, both of which are important to immune function. Get vitamin A in:
- Sweet potatoes
Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Foods rich in vitamin C are:
- Bell pepper
Although you’re probably doing a few things on the list already, if you bring everyone in the household to the same standard, you may have a relatively illness-free season!