Most people would say that it is impossible to stay healthy during the winter. I have this perspective because I have battled with terrible bronchitis every winter for the past five year. After doing a ton of research on how to prevent this, I have found some awesome tips that can help anyone stay healthy during the winter:
RULE #1: Stay hydrated. The majority of your body is water. It’s just science. In order for your immune system, among other things, to run properly, everyone should drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day.
RULE #2: Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce carb and sugar intake. By eating fresh foods you are reducing the number of chemicals and preservatives in your body. By reducing carbs and sugar intake you are allowing your body to not have to break down as many nutrients.
RULE #3: Take a multi-vitamin. Everyone should take this anyways because it ensures your body is getting the vitamins it needs to run properly. Ensure you take one a day during the winter to help build your body’s immune system to fight infection.
RULE #4: Don’t stress the small stuff. Stress can put your immune system at risk which causes your body to fight bacteria and viruses less effectively. Viral infections, arthritis and certain allergies can become worse based on your body’s stress level. Not to mention, those “stress headaches” and back and shoulder cramps from stress will add to the misery of being sick.
RULE #5: Break a sweat. While exercising, your body produces antibodies which fight bacteria and viruses, thus making your body less susceptible to sickness. Also, by breaking a sweat, toxins escape the body and your metabolism increases. All in all, exercising is a win-win situation.
RULE #6: Catch up on those Zzz. You cannot physically catch up on sleep, but you can increase the amount you get during the winter. Getting six to eight hours of sleep a night probably sounds impossible with our crazy lives, but to prevent sickness it can really make a difference.
RULE #7: Keep your hands clean. The thought of all the germs on a hand makes me cringe. Wash your hands. Carry hand sanitizer. Be more self-conscious about what is touching your hands. In the long run, it can prevent the spreading of germs.
RULE #8: Don’t smoke. Smoking damages the lungs which leads to breathing problems. It is very common for winter sickness to include coughing or throat irritation. By sucking in smoke, you are putting your lungs and everything along the way at risk. Either way, no one should smoke. It’s a terrible habit that leads to more problems than not.
So what do you do when you start to come down with something despite the fact you too all preventative measures? Here are a few tips to help you get over your cold:
- Stop drinking. I know this can be difficult, but you will heal quicker without alcohol in your system. When alcohol is in your system your body loses most of the vitamins and minerals which reduces the effectiveness of your immune system. Not to mention drinking dehydrates your body which is counterproductive to RULE #1.
- Eliminate eating dairy. Dairy has bacteria and if you are taking antibiotics, it’s counterproductive.
- Take Vitamin C and Zinc. Vitamin C and Zinc improve the immune system and help fight against bacteria and viruses. Try Airborne® or Emergen-C® to boost your Vitamin C intake and a Zinc supplement to help your body fight.
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! I know we already discussed this, but in order for your body to recover, it needs to be at peak hydration.
- Reduce the amount of food that you eat. The less you eat the less time your body has to break down the food, which gives it more time to fight against infection.
- Sleep seven to eight hours at night. The more you sleep, the more down time the body has to fight against whatever is cycling through your body.
Either way you slice it, there is always something that someone can do to help their body fight infection. As long as you see your primary physician when you start to get sick and you don’t let the bacteria and/or virus fester in your body for too long, getting over a winter sickness can go smoothly. I know that this year when my inevitable sickness comes knocking at my door, I know that I did my best to prevent it. I also know that I’ll be running implementing the six additional tips to get over my sickness as quickly as possible. Will you?