All of a sudden the leaves are changing colour, the days are getting shorter, and it’s starting to get chilly. Yes, it’s that time of year to start thinking about cold and flu prevention. Here are a few tips to keep your immune system strong and keep you healthy this cold + flu season.
Wash your hands | Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of the cold and flu.
Remember to wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially before and after eating. Make it a habit to wash your hands throughout the day, when you first get home, and before you touch your face. Remember to choose hand soap that is eco-friendly and gentle on your skin so you can stay germ-free without dryness or irritation.
Avoid sugar | Many people don’t know that sugar suppresses the immune system. A high sugar meal or snack causes your busy white blood cells to “slow down” so they can’t do their job properly. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, especially if you’re fighting a cold, and your immune system will be able to fight back in full force.
Eat your veggies | Fresh vegetables are the best source of the vitamins needed for a robust immune system. Vitamin A is essential for preventing infections as it maintains healthy mucous membranes. Eat plenty of leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, chilli and bell peppers, carrots and butternut squash. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system by boosting the white blood cells that fight infection. This is another reason to eat plenty of kale, spinach and peppers, which contain high amounts of this vitamin, and also parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Include nuts and whole grains | Zinc is a mineral that is essential for proper immune cell function. It is found in pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, rye, whole wheat, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.
Get to bed on time | Losing sleep puts stress on the whole body, including the immune system. Getting adequate rest is another way to keep your immune system in peak condition.
Consider herbal medicine | Certain botanicals are very effective at boosting the immune system. Other herbs are anti-viral and anti-bacterial. If you feel like you catch every bug that’s going around, you may benefit from herbal medicine. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking herbal preparations.
Ask a naturopathic doctor | To build and maintain a strong immune system this cold and flu season, consult a licensed naturopathic doctor. Using a safe, gentle, individualized approach, a naturopathic doctor can help you achieve vibrant health, naturally.
In Ontario, naturopathic doctors are regulated by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy. For a complete list of licensed naturopathic doctors in your area, please call the BDDTN at 416-866-8383 or visit www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca.
Aranka Jones B.Sc., N.D.
In Ontario, NDs are regulated by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy. For a complete list of licensed naturopathic doctors, please call the BDDTN at 416-866-8383 or visit www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca.