Skip Sick Season

By Nicole Xu, #GoGetItLIFE Contributing Writer

As the peak of flu season approaches, try these simple and effective tips to stay in tip-top health, no tissues or cough syrup needed.*

1. Eat well (and prosper).

Proper nutrition is key to maintaining a strong immune system and rebuilding your body. Try to get all of your nutrients from foods before using supplements – many vitamins and minerals work best in a complex with other cofactors that maximize absorption, so purified supplements often don’t work as effectively as nutrients found in whole foods.

Eat a well-balanced diet comprising fresh vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats – avocado on whole-wheat toast, yum! Frozen and dried foods are also good options. For an extra immunity boost, try eating more garlic, ginger, and probiotics like yogurt. For a super effective kick, I recommend taking L-lysine to prevent or shorten the duration of illnesses, such as the flu, common colds, and my personal nemesis: cold sores.

2. Stop skimping on sleep.

Beauty sleep is more than skin deep; sleep is essential for your body’s natural repair mechanisms, which is why you might feel extra drowsy when fighting off a cold. Use this as a good excuse to catch more zzz’s.

3. Exercise precaution.

Low-level stressors, such as regular exercise, can help maintain a functional immune system by keeping your body’s natural defense mechanisms active. As a bonus, muscles release protective factors that speed up healing, so keep jogging to stay ahead of a cold. However, be careful not to overdo it. Not adequately resting between high intensity workouts can actually weaken the immune system by overstress, so let your body recover if you’re feeling under the weather.

4. Some like it hot. (Liquids, I mean.)

Although few studies have been done on the temperature of drinks as a preventative measure or treatment for colds, drinking warm liquids is an old wives’ tale that works quite well on this not-so-old not-so-wife. I recommend a warm drink first thing in the morning, right before bed, and any time you feel slightly ill.

5. Honey, I shrunk my cold.

Skip the spoonful of sugar, and try honey instead. Manuka honey is a medically recognized antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory agent. Although manuka is best, any honey can offer benefits.

*Please note that preventative measures are not 100% effective and do not take the place of medical treatment; however, these suggestions are supported by cited studies and anecdotal recommendations (read: me).

And just in case you still get sick (which is sometimes inevitable), my go-to for a speedier recovery is a green smoothie made from an apple, fresh lemon juice, whole milk yogurt, and pea shoots. Delicious, soothing on a sore throat, and full of nutrients to help you get well soon! ☺

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