During this special time together, we want to reflect the best of our health and well-being. We can do this by enhancing our immune system to make it very difficult for viruses and bacteria to stay in our bodies.
During the winter months, we are breathing air that is often contaminated with chemicals from the environment and may be contaminated with a virus that could make us sick, if our immune response is not strong enough.
The flu virus is usually spread by direct contact with an infected person who sneezes or coughs into the air and onto objects that someone else may touch. The flu virus doesn’t go far, so if someone in the room with you has the flu, the best thing is to avoid close contact.
Th cold virus can be spread by breathing air contaminated with the virus as well as direct contact with an infected person.
Here are 12 ways that you can strengthen your immune system to avoid being taken down by a cold or flu over the holidays:
- Reduce sugar. Eating or drinking too much sugar weakens immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks and a few sweets. This also applies to concentrated fruit juices. Drink plenty of purified water to keep toxins out of your body.
- Keep hydrated. Our immune system is much stronger when our bodies are hydrated with pure water, vegetable juices and raw foods. Remember that caffeinated drinks dehydrate the body, so avoid those.
- Drink freshly-squeezed lemon juice every morning. Being rich in Vitamin C, lemon juice is essential for maintaining a fully functional immune system. A lemon a day…elixir recipe
- Exercise. Exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s defense cells) through the body at a quicker rate. As these antibodies or white blood cells circulate more rapidly, they could detect illnesses earlier than they might normally and allow the body to fight them off sooner. Consider a daily walk to continue to keep you healthy.
- Wash your hands. Since viruses tend to enter our bodies through our nose and eyes, we need to remember to avoid touching our face if we have come in contact with objects that are infected by someone with a cold or flu. At least until our hands are thoroughly washed.
- Drink fresh juices made of carrot and dark leafy greens. Carrots and dark leafy greens are high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is known as the anti-infection vitamin and is super important to your body’s defense system. Get juicing ideas here.
- Breathe through your nose. Our nose does a wonderful job of filtering germs and airborne particles. Breathing through your mouth sends these germs and particles directly to our throat and lungs which causes a greater risk of us catching the cold or flu.
- Reduce stress. It is now commonly known that stress weakens the immune system and damages our digestive system as well. This will increase our risk of getting a cold or flu as well as lengthen the time and intensity of the symptoms. This is a great time to practice ‘Going with the flow’.
- Get lots of rest. It turns out that lack of sleep really may make us more prone to catching colds and the flu. Sleep loss not only plays a role in whether we come down with a cold or flu, it also influences how we fight illnesses once we come down with them. So, nothing wrong with extra beauty rest this holiday season!
- Eat fermented foods. It is alive (not pasteurized) cultured foods that strengthen your immune system. They do so by helping you maintain a healthy population of micro-flora in your gut. Unprocessed fermented foods boost the immune system by increasing antibodies that fight infectious disease. Read more about that here.
Eat garlic. Raw garlic is an immunity-boosting superstar. One clove contains 5mg of calcium, 12mg of potassium and more than 100 sulfuric compounds. This is powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection. Bring on the guacamole!
- Stay on a whole-foods, plant-based diet. By feeding your body the best possible foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and living enzymes, your immune system will get the support that it needs. You will be glad that you did. Read more.