There are a lot of reasons to love winter: the holidays, family, and getting ready for the new year. Bonus: not having to deal with the snow!
But there's another side to winter, too—cold and flu season.
As much as we may wish we could, none of us can wrap ourselves in a bubble and avoid all of the germs going around. But you can take steps to increase the likelihood that you'll be one of the "lucky ones" who escape the misery.
Preventing colds and flu really boils down to one thing—keeping your immune system as healthy as possible. By keeping your immune system healthy, your immune system will be able to better intercept and destroy viruses before they take hold and get you sick. Here's a look at some of the best ways you can prevent colds and the flu:
Eat an immune-boosting diet. You know which one...a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables high in vitamins A and C including citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli and carrots, foods with vitamin E such as avocado, and lean meats and legumes as sources of protein.
Stay hydrated. Increasing the amount of pure, clean water you drink every day helps keep the mucous membranes in your eyes and nose moist. This may not seem like a big deal, but when they're dry—as they tend to get in the winter when we spend a lot of time in heated, indoor spaces—they're less effective at catching and sweeping viruses out of the body.
Don't skimp on sleep. Fighting the urge to rest puts the body—and your immune system—under a lot of stress. If you're tired, take a break and rest. It could be the difference between a healthy cold and flu season and one that's not.
Stock up on flu-fighting supplements. A favorite of ours is beta glucan. Beta glucan is extracted from yeast, and it turns up the activity level of the "natural killer" cells in your bloodstream. We also like resveratrol and CoQ10. Resveratrol has been shown to limit virus replication, which can help stop it from taking hold or significantly lessen any symptoms you experience. CoQ10 is great for its antioxidant properties and its ability to support energy production throughout the body—a key to keeping your immune system at the ready. Vitamin D also plays a key role in immune function, so don't skimp on that we don't get as much sun (even in sunny Arizona) during the winter. Finally, don't forget vitamin C and N-acetyl-cysteine, two more great ways to keep your body's antioxidant levels up.
Practice good hygiene. This should be common sense, but it's always worth a reminder. Regular hand-washing goes a long way when it comes to preventing colds and flu. Avoid rubbing your eyes and nose, too, since that can transfer any virus you have on your hands directly into the body.
We hope these simple tips and tricks help prevent you from catching a cold or the flu this winter. We at AFC wish you the best of health this holiday season!