This is a Sponsored guest post by Joe Fleming
Looking to give your body a fighting chance this cold and flu season? In addition to regularly washing hands, avoiding sharing eating utensils and cups with others, and getting the flu vaccine, there are a handful of natural remedies and preventative actions you should try. Don’t miss this essential list:
The medicinal properties of garlic have been touted for centuries and used in many home remedies, however, when it comes to staving off infections from cold viruses, can it help? Research says, yes! Garlic has been shown to bolster the protective powers of the immune system by stimulating cells which specifically help to target and eliminate harmful pathogens.
Additional evidence links garlic with a boost in hydrogen sulfide production in the body which has been shown to help increase blood flow and serve as an antioxidant. Hydrogen sulfide production has also proved to be effective in warding off certain cancers.
This foodie buzzword isn’t a buzzword at all. Antioxidants still remain a necessary plant-based powerhouse that forms a line of defense for your body to combat free radicals. Free radicals are essentially wily molecules with an odd or unpaired number of electrons that can damage or kill cells.
Free radicals have been linked to cancer and other conditions like heart disease and stroke. Source plentiful antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables like blueberries, citrus fruits, spinach, whole grains, squash, carrots, broccoli, green pepper, seeds, and nuts (just to name a few!).
It’s so easy to skip regular water consumption, especially during cooler weather months when you simply don’t feel as thirsty or are busy drinking hot cups of tea or coffee. Healthy hydration is key to helping your body flush out unwanted toxins and impurities, as well as powering the delicate water balance which helps with everything from blood pressure to muscle contraction. If you do get sick during cold and flu season, maintaining fluid intake will play an important role in your recovery and prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
Other critical immunity boosters don’t necessarily involve what you put in your body, but rather what you do with it!
Some experts recommend that kids especially get an extra hour of sleep during cold and flu season to simply fortify the body for fighting germs. Why is sleep so important? Simply put, sleep aids healthy brain function.
Every night when you go to sleep your body goes into repair mode – it cleans up gunky pathways in the brain, it rebuilds muscle tissue, it releases and balances hormones, it reinforces healthy immune responses, and it maintains healthy growth and development in teens and kids. Ongoing sleep deficiency on the other hand has been linked to:
- Increased rates of obesity
- Higher risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, stroke and diabetes
- High blood sugar levels
- Difficulty fighting off infections
- Reduced alertness and attentiveness
- Trouble learning and making decisions
- Depression and suicide
Physical exertion might seem antithetical to staying healthy – how would wearing yourself out boost your immunity? Naturally, exercise increases muscle strength, heart health, lung capacity, and bone density, but when it comes to your immune system, it’s just as powerful.
Exercise temporarily increases body temperature and blood flow which can help your body fight off bacteria and deliver critical nutrients and germ-killing white blood cells where they are needed. Physical activity also helps to flush out toxins and waste byproducts from the lungs and nasal airways, as well as increase production of feel good hormones to combat stress which might otherwise make you sick.
It is important to note that extended, high-intensity exercise has actually been shown to suppress immune response and increase risk for getting sick, so during cold and flu season you’ll want to maintain a fitness routine with lower-impact activities like cycling, hiking, dancing, swimming, or yoga.
The body’s front line of defense which does the actual detection of harmful cold and flu viruses when they enter your body is the lymphatic system. A spectacular network of organs, vessels, glands, ducts, and lymph nodes, the lymphatic system serves to filter out and drain toxins, impurities, pathogens, and waste from your body.
Unlike your blood flow which is pumped by the heart, lymphatic flow requires the contracting of muscles to move along successfully. Stimulating lymphatic drainage is possible with techniques like inversion (hanging upside down), dry brushing, rebounding (jumping on a trampoline), and massage.
A keen body awareness can also go a long way during cold and flu season. Pay attention to potentially dangerous symptoms like runny nose, chills, and fever. Equip yourself with helpful tools like an oral thermometer, hand sanitizer, reusable water bottle, and tissues, even when you’re on the go, to make sure you can prevent yourself from catching an infection or at least detect it early enough to limit its toll.