As winter approaches, most people find they become more susceptible to the common cold and flu. If you feel like you constantly get sick or fight one cold after another without ever feeling better, now is the time to think of prevention. If you have children, you may think that runny noses, constant colds and flu are normal for children in school or daycare but it doesn't need to be. What are you doing to prepare yourself and your family for cold and flu season?
Ways to stay healthy this cold and flu season
Diet: Eat a whole foods diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Avoid or decrease sugar intake as it suppresses immune function. Avoid your food sensitivities.
Sleep: Adults should get 8-9 hours per night. Children should get between 10-15 hours depending on age. Sleep in a dark room without a night light or electronics such as a alarm clock, etc that give off light.
Decrease stress and anxiety: The hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which are released when our body is under stress, suppress immune function.
Drink lots of water and fluids. The general recommendation is 1/2 your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water.
Wash hands thoroughly and frequently. Stay home and rest if you do start to experience symptoms.
Supplements: Basic nutrients such as Vitamin C, D and zinc help boost immune function. Because ~70% of our immune system is in our gut it is essential to maintain a good population of "healthy" bacteria by taking probiotics. Immune boosting plants/foods include medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake, astragalus, echinacea, elderberry, oregano, garlic, and ginger.
Dr. Brandi Honaizer, ND Arbour Wellness Centre 3955 Victoria Ave Nanaimo, BC V9T5H2