Six Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter
It seems like everyone is worried about getting sick this season. We all know to WASH YOUR HANDS…. but what else can we do to not fall victim to the cold and flu bugs?
1. Limit Sugar Intake
Just a small amount of sugar has been proven to impair disease-fighting white blood cells up to 50% for a short amount of time. Sugars directly compete with your immune system for disease-fighting nutrients, so when you eat or drink sugar, your immune system has less strength to fight. Sugar is in more than just “sweets.” It is disguised in juice, spaghetti sauce, bread, salad dressing, just to name a few places you might not think to check. Challenge yourself and check your food labels - you might be surprised how much sugar you consume in a day. If you have a sweet tooth, try eating some fresh fruit.
2. Moderate and Regular Exercise
Increased blood flow through moderate exercise helps to circulate antibodies along with white blood cells necessary to fight infection more quickly. Don’t overdo it though! Pushing yourself too hard can actually put too much stress on your body and decrease your immune function. Listen to your body.
3. Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can slow down your entire body, including your immune system. This is a great time of year for hot herbal teas. Skip the ice – iced drinks can slow down your digestion and make your body work harder. That energy can be used to fight off disease instead. There is a reason why MOST cultures drink warm to room temperature drinks – and have less incidence of disease!
4. Get plenty of rest
During sleep your body releases strong immune boosting hormones. When you don’t sleep enough, not only is your body not being refreshed each night, it is being bombarded by stress hormones that weaken your immune function.
5. Eat whole foods
Organic fruits and vegetables contain thousands of phytonutrients that work synergistically to support the immune system. Taking a phytonutrient supplement is a good start – but those are only a few of the nutrients that we need to keep our bodies strong. Eating lean proteins and healthy fats are also an important part of a balanced diet.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase immune system function. It helps to improve sleep, aid in digestion to allow for better assimilation of good nutrition, increase energy, improve mood and regulate hormones. When the seasons change, so do our bodies. It is good to get a “tune up” to ease your body’s transition through the seasons.