It is that time of year where everyone is scurrying the Internet looking for ways for holistic cold and flu prevention ideas. The days are starting to become shorter and suddenly the eerie sounds of coughs and sniffles fill our homes. It is easy to blame the kids that are back to school and sharing germs like Pokemon® cards, but really there are a bunch of factors that contribute to the peak cold/flu season.
One of the primary reasons is that we are migrating indoors, therefore are confined to smaller spaces and have more human contact. Plain and simple. Another main reason is that our colder days are less humid, which allows the bacteria/virus to stick around longer. Did you know that some flu viruses can live on couches for a week(1), Yuck !!
So what can we do to for cold and flu prevention?
- It starts with great nutrition.
Our immune systems suffer if it’s constantly being bombarded with food intolerances, additives, preservatives, and sugar. This means increased internal inflammation, which makes it tough to fend off viruses and bacteria. Sugar has also been shown to suppress immunity. Focus on plenty of nutrient dense foods such as fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and lean proteins. We tend to steer away from leafy greens over the cooler months because our bodies are craving warming foods. Not a problem- just add a side leafy green or salad to your bowl of soup.
- Supplementation and Gut Flora.
It is essential today for us to fill any nutritional gaps with a high-quality vitamin*. Choose one that has optimal levels of Vitamin C, D, and Zinc, which are all fantastic immune boosters. Adding in a Probiotic to protect our digestive tracts and aid in having healthy gut flora is also essential. This will help us to digest food, assist in toxin clearance, and help shield us from invading bacteria and viruses.
I personally recommend between 5 and 20 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) every few days depending on age and health. Consult with your healthcare professional and also make sure the probiotic has live, active cultures.
The right amount of sleep (depending on age) and the quality of sleep. Sleep is the prime time our bodies repair and rejuvenates so we have to make sure our bedtime routines are consistent, so our bodies are triggered into restorative sleep mode. Though it is super tough, try and make an effort to cut out the electronic devices and blue screens 1 hour before bedtime.
- Exercise for Cold and Flu Prevention
Stress and anxiety have a huge negative effect on our immune systems. Not only is exercise one of the best stress relievers, research also shows that exercise increases the number of natural killer cells in adults(2). It also increases our core body temperature which viruses do not like. You don’t have to think, ‘go big or go home’. A good brisk 15 min walk is great or getting outdoors for some skiing, skating, and tobogganing.
- Cold and Flu Prevention with Essentials Oils
Diffusing essential oils not only makes your home smell amazing, they also have powerful aromatherapy benefits and add much-needed moisture into the air. You can also use a topical to boost immunity and clear breathing passages. Talk to an expert or aromatherapist about different applications (some are not made for skin) and what oils are best for you and your family.
- Soap it UP.
We know sometimes you want to dip our whole body in sanitizer, but instilling good hygiene habits will go far in helping the whole family’s battle the cold and flu season.Making sure we wash our hands often with soap. Key times are before and after each meal and after playing outside, handling pets, blowing your nose, using the bathroom, and arriving home from your day.
*Not all supplements are created equal. Use free resources such as Consumer Labs or NutriSearch Guide to ensure the product is tested, proven quality and potency and does not contain fillers or toxins.
1. Dr. Oz, Flu and Cold www.doctoroz.com/
2. Ranjit Chandra, M.D., a pediatric immunologist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
About the Author
Monika Tupholme (BSc. in Biochemistry, CPT, and FNC) is a former professional volleyball player. She is now a Performance Strategist|Educator who helps active people reignite their metabolism so they can lose weight, re-energize, curve joint pain and get their MOJO back. You can follow Monika on social media: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monika_tupholme/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mojomoni/?pnref=lhc Visit her website: […]Read Bio Read Posts