As we turn to the end of 2018, we know the dreaded cold and flu season lies ahead of us. This year, be proactive in the fight against seasonal sickness. Here are three tips for avoiding a cold and staying healthy this winter.
Eat your way to good health. One of the most important ways to take care of yourself ahead of cold and flu season is to eat right. When it comes to eating a healthy diet, there are a variety of foods to choose from, but your best choices are prebiotics and probiotics.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that support the growth of beneficial microorganisms in your gut. Combining prebiotics and probiotics can help get your microbiome into a healthy balance, with a good diversity of intestinal bacteria in your gut.
When you have plenty of good bacteria, the harmful ones get crowded out and have a much harder time making you sick. Your digestion also improves, because your ability to absorb macronutrients and micronutrients is better when your beneficial bacteria are diverse and balanced.
To incorporate prebiotics into your diet, choose plant-based foods that contain prebiotic fibers such as asparagus, cabbage, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, unripe bananas, cashews, pistachios, lentils, and chickpeas. For probiotics, choose cultured vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, coconut kefir, miso, pickles, and apple cider vinegar.
Boost your immune system. In addition to eating a healthy diet, you can incorporate supplements to bolster your immune system. The natural supplement AHCC — an extract from the roots of Japanese medicinal mushrooms — contains glucans that can help naturally boost the immune system, decrease certain innate immune signalers, decrease inflammation, and act as a prebiotic.
Glutathione — a master antioxidant — can also help ready your immune system for cold and flu season. Glutathione supplements are available, but there are a number of other ways to boost your glutathione levels as well. Increasing your vitamin C intake; consuming foods rich in the antioxidant, such as spinach, avocados, asparagus, and okra; or incorporating whey protein, a good source of cysteine, which helps maintain adequate glutathione production.
Get proper sleep every night. Sleep experts say we should get seven to nine hours each night. According to a new study, sleeping for longer each night is a simple lifestyle change that could help us make healthier diet choices and maybe even lose weight. Conversely, a consistent lack of sleep not only leaves you susceptible to a weakened immune system and catching the common cold, it’s also proven to harm you in the long term.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, your first consideration should be your mattress. Choose a mattress that provides firm but comfortable support to keep your spine in alignment while sleeping on your side or on your back. When you lie down, your mattress should give you a sense of floating, not sinking. Memory foam mattresses are a great choice because they conform to your body’s shape and eliminate pressure points. Pair your mattress with the correct pillow to keep your body aligned.
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