Flu shot or not, no one wants to get the flu. And, even if it isn’t fatal or serious for most people, it sure is a miserable week or so of aches and pains, coughing, a runny nose and other symptoms.
So, what you need to do is ensure you build a strong immune system that fights bugs and helps prevents illness this winter.
Five ways to prevent winter illnesses
1. Food is your best medicine
There are loads of immune-boosting foods can help you prevent illness this winter. I’m talking about fruits: Fresh and frozen berries and leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach and kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, onions, ginger and garlic. Also, add protein such as nuts, seeds,beans, lentils and lean meats. And, stick to good quality oils such as olive and coconut oil.
Sugar dampens the immune system. So, try to stay away from it. Also, try to avoid soft drinks, fruit juices and too much alcohol.
2. Practice good hygiene
As much as this sounds like a no-brainer, simply washing hands with soap and water helps stave off germs and in turn prevent disease. Plain alcohol soaps are the best. Also, try to greet with a hug instead of a handshake as this helps prevent the spread of viral infections.
3. Stay hydrated
Most of us tend to drink less water in winter. However, it’s important to be well-hydrated. You see, mucous membranes are more susceptible to inflammation and irritation when you’re parched. Just drink plain old water and herbal teas to stay hydrated.
Your immune system and nervous system work hand in hand. Therefore, when you rest and recharge, your nervous system ensures a healthy immune system. So, try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you struggle to asleep, try deep inhalation followed by a long exhalation a couple of times as you relax in the evening. This trick really helps calm the system.
5. Add healing herbs to your diet
If you haven’t already, it’s time you embraced healing herbs. They are amazing! My favourite is ashwagandha, which you can take daily to optimise immune function and relieve stress. Other great herbs include ginger – love it with tea, and garlic – love the flavour it adds to salad dressings and also over steamed veggies.