Recently, the World Health Organization said that this year’s flu vaccine might not be as effective as we’d hoped. Your weapon of defense could be your own immunity. With cold and flu season here, it looks like we must take precautions on a daily basis, there are too many possibilities and it looks like our weapon of defense may be our immunity. There are 1,000 different germs causing colds and flu. In fact, Americans get more than one billion cold and influenza infections every year between the months of September and April. Four million people get infected every day; collectively, Americans will spend more than 200 million days in bed a year, adding up to $10 billion in lost wages. It’s tough to feel exuberant when you’re not feeling well physically. The following lifestyle strategies can help you create a firm foundation of good health, which will support your immune system and emotional being as well.
Tips to stay healthy this winter season:
Eat a healthy diet focused on fresh, whole foods (ideally organic or locally grown). Also be mindful of your protein sources, making sure they are of high quality. Healthy fats, moderate-protein and a low-carb diet are likely to improve the health of most people.
Consume healthy fat. The science is loud and clear on this point: Omega 3 fatty acids. Other healthy fats include coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, walnuts and macadamia nuts. All these fats are low in carbs and will not impair your insulin levels.
Make clean, pure water your primary beverage, and steer clear of all sweetened and flavored beverages, including those that contain artificial sweeteners. Sugar lowers your immune system by 70 percent.
Manage your stress. Try a yoga tape to deal with stressful days or a brisk walk on a sunny day.
Exercise regularly. Ideally, you want a comprehensive fitness regimen that includes stretching and high intensity interval training and always check with your doctor before you start any new program.
Get plenty of appropriate sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels naturally. if you can’t get some sun rays, it’s critical you get your vitamin D from another source, it increases your immune system and safeguards you from all diseases, studies suggest.
Limit your exposure to toxins of all kinds. The number of toxic chemicals and their sources is so large, I believe you can help keep your toxic load as low as possible by becoming an informed and vigilant consumer. This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides and insecticides, just to name a few and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives, including your plastic water bottle.
Get plenty of quality sleep. Scientists have discovered that your circadian rhythms regulate the energy levels in your cells. In addition, the proteins involved with your circadian rhythm and metabolism are intrinsically linked and dependent upon each other. Therefore, when your circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can have a profound influence on your health.
Eating small meals throughout the day is key when you’re stressed, you don’t want your blood sugar dipping causing more stress. Best to carry a nutritional bar with you in a pinch, or some healthy nuts, such as walnuts or almonds.
You may consider taking a live strain Probiotic to help with a healthy immune system, as always ask your doctor before changing your diet or regime.
Common Sense Rules include washing your hands often, breathing in clean air, wearing a warm hat when going outside, avoiding sick people and negativity, keeping your nutrients high, and keeping a surgical style face mask for an emergency outbreak.
Finally, when you are sick—stay home—most people continue with work and go to school not only do they prolong being sick, they infect everyone else. Stay well and keep prevention in mind.
Always ask your doctor about getting the flu shot and changing your routine, certainly always contact your doctor when your not feeling well, or go to your local emergency room.
Maria Dello is a nutritionist at Dellonutritionals. Her office is located in Manhasset on 75 Plandome Rd.