Achoo! Sniffle! Hack!
Ah, winter. The season where everyone seems to be getting sick and sharing their germs with unsuspecting others.
Whether you take every supplement in sight, or just pray that you keep dodging every snot-covered bullet, take heart that you don’t actually have to live in fear of cold and flu season.
And while who gets sick is more luck of the draw than hard-and-fast rule, you can increase your odds of staying well by taking these three easy steps.
Increase your intake
The immune system is our body’s first line of defense when it comes to fighting off diseases and infections. It’s essential to keep it strong and give it a helping hand when we can, and supplementing is a great way to boost immunity.
Astragalus is a wonderful herb that can boost your immunity and help you throw a punch or two at this season’s nasty bugs! This root is one of the best known herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that is renowned for its ability to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections and, more importantly, prevent them!
Astragalus works similarly to Echinacea. Both herbs increase the number and activity of immune cells. In laboratory research, Astragalus has shown itself to be not only an effective anti-viral, but also an impressive broad spectrum antibiotic. Unlike Echinacea, which can be used only for short periods of time, Astragalus can be taken on a daily basis throughout the whole season to boost your immune system. As with all supplements and natural remedies, do exercise caution when taking astragalus; it may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects. And speaking of the stomach…
Tone your tummy
No, we’re not talking ab crunches or curls! The trillions of beneficial bacteria in your intestines help you fight disease and absorb nutrients. Keeping this population healthy and strong is arguably your strongest defense against colds, flus and many other diseases.
In addition to certain herbs that can help boost your immune system, your immune health also depends on eating well. According to Harvard Medical School, “the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment.” Regular intake of fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and vitamins which can help keep your immune system strong. And don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Get your drink on
While it’s possible to get some fluid through the foods that we eat, according to the CDC, most of our fluid needs are met through our water and beverage intake. “Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Healthy people meet their fluid needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking with meals.”
During cold and flu season, getting adequate intake helps to keep the tissues in your respiratory system nice and moist (which is a key component of mucous, which keeps bacteria and germs from settling in). Getting enough of H20 also helps to flush out toxins that can burden and impede your immune function. You can also try some of our immune-boosting remedies and recipes for extra protection.
Drinking adequate amounts of water has great benefits in itself. Boost energy levels and physical performance, improve brain function, prevent kidney stones, and stabilize blood pressure – learn more about the many health benefits here.
As the old saying goes,”the best defense is a good offense.” A strong, immune system is the cornerstone of good health, to fighting off disease and infections, and allowing you to recover more quickly if you do get sick.
Here’s to your good health!
What are some of your cold-and-flu fighting tips? Let us know! Leave a comment below.