Cold and Flu Season: How to Stay Healthy
It’s winter, and everyone seems to be sick in one way, shape, or form. Luckily, I’ve only gotten sick once this year because of some strategies I’ve been using for a few years to keep my immune system strong.
Sleep is absolutely critical to staying healthy. If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, you will NOT stay healthy this season. It’s a simple as that! Sleep is when our bodies go through the repair and recovery phases that are so important to our immune system health. You can read more about sleep here:
2. Real Food
This one is obvious. If you are supplying your body with the nutrients you need from the foods you are eating, as well as avoiding the inflammatory foods, you will help ward off sickness. Inflammatory foods harm your gut lining and create inflammation in the body, which in turn stresses your immune system and pulls it away from its normal functions. This can allow a virus or bacteria take root. Following a PFC balanced diet and keeping inflammation low are key in staying healthy,
3. Gut Health and Probiotics
Our immune system lives in our gut, so if our gut is damaged or compromised, our likeliness of getting ill increases significantly. Focusing on removing inflammatory foods, sleeping, reducing stress, and eliminating environmental toxins is super helpful in healing the gut, as well as making sure to replenish the beneficial gut bacteria from either probiotic rich foods or a supplement.
Too much exercise (overtraining) can put your body in a stressed state, causing your body to fall behind on recovering and repairing, which in turn can lead to injuries or illness. However, this can also work in the reverse as well. Overexercising can put your body in such a high alert state all the time that it is never allowed to relax. In this state inflammation in the body is high, but you may not get sick very often because your immune system is never given a chance to relax and get into a parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. This is NOT a good place to be in, even if it means that you never get sick. This means your body knows it cannot get sick less it risk serious or fatal effects. Moral of the story – exercise 3-5 times per week, about 30-60 minutes each time and incorporate movement into your daily routine.
5. Hygiene and Germ Exposure
Yes, washing your hands is important, but there is a such thing as beneficial bacteria exposure, which is why I absolutely HATE Germ-x or hand sanitizer. It is not only made with toxic chemicals, but it also kills both the good and bad bacteria, which never allows the good bacteria to do its job. This also applies the frequent usage of antibiotics without a) valid reason to take them or b) the proper reinoculation of good bacteria AFTER the round of antibiotics is finished (see gut health and probiotics above). If you are someone who has been on antibiotics in the past 5 years or take them at least once a year, you need to consider reinoculating your good gut bacteria.
Stress harms the gut lining, increases inflammation, and puts your body on high alert, all of which impair your immune system’s ability to ward off bad bugs. Reducing stress is HUGE when healing from any chronic health condition, big or small.
I make sure to eat the following foods on a weekly basis to ensure I’m getting a huge hit of nutrition from my diet:
Liver (I take mine in homemade pill form, but I also like this supplement)
Collagen (also from Vital Proteins)
Seafood (especially with the bones)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Grass fed butter
In addition, whenever I start to feel something coming on, I’ll drink plenty of tea with either lemon juice or lemon essential oil added for extra benefit.
8. doTerra OnGuard
I’ve mentioned doTerra before for various other reasons, but I highly recommend their OnGuard products for staying healthy during the winter. I use their beadlets and oil currently. Obviously, there are other oils that are helpful as well, including lemon, oregano, frankincense, tea tree oil, and peppermint.
Of course, there are a ton of other strategies for staying healthy during the cold and flu season, but these are the top tips that I have found work best for me and my health. Obviously working at a gym on a daily basis and being around a lot of people is proof to me that they are working!