kick your immune system into high gear
I trust that you are having a wonderful day. I wanted to share this blog post that I did for a website called 'How To Be A Redhead'. awesome right?!? I didn't know such a website existed, but was so thrilled to be contacted by them. I am so happy that ginger's all over the globe are embracing their fiery locks.
photo from here
I chose to discuss how to boost our immune system through diet and lifestyle changes. You can read the article here. In addition to the recommendation made in the article, consider the following .......
- Avoid sugar. Sugar depresses our immune system which means our body will be left vulnerable and unable to fight illness and disease. Sugar is often found in many processed and refined foods...all the more reason to eat whole foods! It is especially important to eliminate sugar when you feel like you might be coming down with something. So gone are the days of sweet comfort foods like popsicles and ice cream when you feel sick as these foods are doing more harm than good and interfering with your road to recovery. instead drink lots of water and eat whole foods (especially those that are immune boosting) to get you feeling your best.
- Get your sleep. A lack of sleep has been linked to several physical and mental health problem. Not getting enough zzz’s has also shown to decrease your bodies ability to fight a cold and flu. In a nutshell, the bodies immune system fighters (T-cells) decrease in numbers if our body isn’t properly rested. Therefore, the fewer soldiers we have to fight an illness, the more susceptible we become. Resting is also important when you do become sick to allow your body to recover and heal. 6-8 hours of sleep each night is great for prevention purposes. If you do happen to become sick, listen to your body and slow down. Take time to sleep so your body can once again become vibrantly healthy.
- Reduce stress. when we are under stress our bodies immune system is not working at it’s potential, not to mention the detrimental effects it plays on your mental + physical wellbeing. we all deal with stress in different ways but some of my favourite ways to reduce stress include deep breathing exercises, yoga, reading, gardening, a long walk or run, time spent in nature, sauna, hot bath with epsom salts, or a massage.
- Wash your hands. This is one of the easiest ways to protect ourselves from the pesky cold and flu, as well as stop the spread to other people. Just to reiterate, it is important to use soap and warm water. Lather and rub your hands together for at least 20-30 seconds, and then rinse your hands with warm water. This will ensure you are getting rid of those unwanted germs.
- Decrease intense exercise when sick. While daily exercise is always recommended (unless otherwise stated by your doctor), when you feel that you are getting sick it may be beneficial to lay off the intense workouts. This will add more stress to the body and make it harder for your immune system to get healthy. It is always important to listen to your own body. Your body needs all the energy it can get to fight an infection, not to mention how gross it is to be coughed on my someone on the treadmill beside you.
Prevention is key so that you can arm your bodies army with the strength it needs to fight any offending invader. Use your kitchen as your pharmacy. When your immune system has been weakened, that is when the virus will win. Take care of yourself, eat well, drink lots of water, sleep lots, and de-stress.
Wishing you a holiday season full of health, laughter and lots of good food!