As many of you can attest to, cold and flu season is here. Instead of being helpless victims of the many viruses that cause colds and flu, there is so much you can do to boost your immune system and successfully ward off and deal with the effects of these viruses. The naturopathic approach offers a full range of strategies to stay healthy during cold and flu season.
Prevention is the best medicine. We are more likely to pick up a virus through hand-to-hand contact than through air-borne droplets. Viruses can live for up to 4 hours on the hands, so frequent hand washing is a good defense from the common cold.
Studies show that people who eat well, get enough rest and exercise are less likely to get sick when exposed to viruses.
Eating simple sugars or white sugar decreases the functioning of our white blood cells, the cells that fight off infection, for up to 5 hours.
Moderate physical activity has been shown to increase white blood cells and their functioning. As little as 20 minutes per day can be helpful.
Stress weakens the immune system thus increasing our chances of getting sick. People who are under stress are about 4 times more likely to catch a cold than those under little stress. Stress can be managed by consciously making choices to slow down the pace of our lives as well as getting plenty of sleep, performing breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, prayer, spending time with family and friends, laughing, and getting out in nature.
Alison Finger, ND