Fight cold and flu season with these quick tips.

Sniffle …. sniffle …. cough …. cough.

It’s that time of year again cold and flu season is here. Unless you plan on hibernating at home and not having any contact with anyone chances are you will encounter these nasty bugs at some point during the season. So taking preventative measures and boosting your immune system is the best way you can help prevent a cold or flu, or at least help control the severity of it.

I’ve got some great tips on boosting yours and your family’s immune system and helping prevent a cold or the flu from catching up to you.

Now we all know the first step in preventing cold and flu is to wash our hands, especially when we have been out in public places. Did you know that 30 seconds of hand-washing can have a 58% bacteria reduction on the hands?

One of the first things I do this time of year is make sure I am stocked up on immune boosting supplements, and stock the fridge with healthy foods.

My first go too is always probiotics, these amazing good bacteria helps you digest nutrients, replenishes your good bacteria in the intestinal system which in return boosts your immune system. You can get probiotics in several ways the first would be a probiotic supplement either in powder or liquid form. These are easily available at your local health food store. Now probiotics are a supplement my family and I take daily all year long.

Some great ways to get probiotics in the diet without purchasing a supplement is easy, there are tons of different fermented drinks and foods you can add to your diet. One of my favourite ways to get my probiotics in is with kombucha. If you don’t know what that is it is a fermented tea that you can find in most local grocery stores now and of course health food stores. I like to make almost everything myself and will get into how to make homemade kombucha in a future post. Stock your fridge with yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and miso.

Vitamin D especially if you live in a country like Canada where we don’t get much sun light in the winter. Vitamin D can come in drops or pill form. Most people think that we only need vitamin D for strong bones but it is very important for strengthening our immunity to infections due to vitamin D receptors on cells in the immune system. It’s recommended that on dark days you take 1,000IU if vitamin D. My favourite way to get vitamin D is the sun when I can. Your skin only needs about 15 minutes of sun exposure to absorb vitamin D. Also, vitamin D can be found in egg yolks, cheese and fish like tuna and salmon. Did you know that 6 oz of cooked salmon has 600IU?

Research has shown that including garlic in meals daily can help prevent colds. Fresh garlic has a great effect on bacteria and viruses, this is due to the active ingredient called allicin. One of my favourite foods to add lots of garlic in is soup, we eat an abundance of it in our house.

Now some other great foods to stock up on during this season are things like spinach it’s high in folate and antioxidants, bright orange vegetables like carrots, squash and sweet potatoes as they contain beta-carotene which can dramatically enhance the immune system. One thing to remember is that beta-carotene is fat soluble so to get the best effect eat these with foods high in good fats or drizzle them in a good quality olive oil. I also like to keep a good stock of berries now but the only issue is they are not in season and can become very expensive to purchase fresh, a great way to add without the crazy expense is to buy them when in season, wash them and freeze them. They can be used frozen in smoothies and smoothie bowls, in yogurt and in baking. I love baking wild blueberry muffins in the mid of winter when the snow has fallen and the air is crisp.

Some other great ways to help boost the immune system is by staying active. Just 20 minutes of exercise a week that raises your heart rate will increase your white blood cells and help ward off any infection. Getting at minimum of 7 hours sleep for adults and 9 hours for children is extremely important it will protect the immune system from becoming run down.

But the most important thing you can do is try to balance the stress in your life or at least how you let it effect you. High levels of stress can cause cortisol imbalances. Cortisol plays a very important role in white blood cell production as well as your overall health.

If you feel like this information was helpful or you would like help balancing your immune system before we really get into cold and flu season please send me a quick message I would love to hear from you.

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