You don’t have to be a stark to worry about winter. This season can bring anyone down with colds and flu. All the time, you don’t need modern medicine to help you stay healthy this winter. Here are eight natural ways to prevent getting sick during the winter:
- Drink plenty of fluids. As winter brings dry air, staying hydrated throughout the day gets more challenging. Your body needs an adequate amount of fluids to function properly, immune system included. Always bring a bottle of water along with you. Avoid sugary drinks because they can suppress your immune system. Drink herbal teas like chamomile, ginger root, and rose hip to improve your resistance against the cold. Make vegetable soups and broths and consume them throughout the week.
- Use saline nasal flush. Dry mucous membranes make you more susceptible to microbes. You can prevent this by flushing your sinuses with mild salt water daily. For nasal irrigation, you can use a neti pot or ready-to-use plastic bottles that come with saline packets.
- Limit simple sugars from your diet. Simple sugars are also known as “empty calories” because they contain very little nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Limit your consumption of candies, cakes, cookies, syrups, sweetened drinks, and refined grain products. Several studies have shown that refined sugars can alter your immune system for several hours after consumption.
- Include protein with every meal. Your body requires protein to synthesize enzymes and other materials needed by the immune system. Get protein from different sources such as seafood, white-meat poultry, yogurt, eggs, beans, and nuts.
- Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. These foods contain vitamins A and C and phyto-nutrients, which boost the immune system. Consume at least five servings of vegetables and at least three servings of fruits a day.
- Prepare food with garlic, onion, ginger, and other spices. Garlic and onions have antimicrobial properties that help you fight off infection.
- Get enough sleep every night. Sleep helps restore and heal the body. You need adequate sleep to keep your immune system in optimum condition. Establish a healthy sleep-wake cycle by getting to bed early during the long winter nights. Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night. If you have difficulty sleeping, try using relaxation and breathing techniques to help get rid of stress and quiet your mind.
- Exercise regularly. Several studies have linked moderate, regular exercise to a healthy immune system. Exercise increases the production of macrophages (bacteria-killing cells) and improves circulation of immune cells to help fight off bacteria and viruses.