Practicing a daily self-care routine is vital to your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Prioritizing healthy habits builds a solid foundation and is at the heart of creating and maintaining optimal health. Your nutrition, diet, exercise and lifestyle practices are particularly important when it comes to bolstering your immunity during cold and flu season. Having a strong immune system is your best defense against infections and provides you with greater resiliency if you happen to catch a bug.
Top 10 Healthy Habits to Best Support You During Cold and Flu Season
1. Wash your hands and avoid contact with your mouth, nose and eyes.
This is the number one way to prevent illness and the spread of germs. Frequently wash and scrub your hands and wrists with soap and water for 20 seconds.
2. Nourish your body with whole foods and limit sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
Good nutrition strengthens all aspects of your health. Eating nutrient dense food provides your body with important building blocks and necessary cofactors for optimal health. High-quality protein, healthy fats, colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are rich sources of micronutrients and phytonutrients. During cold weather, nourish your body with cooked (as opposed to raw) foods such as stews and hearty soups, bone broth and roasted vegetables. Add in garlic, mushrooms, onions, ginger, oregano, thyme, rosemary and turmeric for extra immune-boosting power!
3. Support digestion and elimination.
With over 70% of your immune system located in your gastrointestinal (GI) system, having good digestive function is critical to your health. If you experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation, take measures to address underlying causes. Diet changes along with supportive supplements such as a probiotic formula (Pathway 35 Billion), digestive enzyme blend (Pathway Digase), and gut-healing nutrients (Pathway GI Optimal Support) can all help to improve GI function. If you continue to experience GI issues, check with your healthcare practitioner.
4. Rest, relax, and take measures to manage stress levels.
Stress, especially chronic stress, weakens the immune system and leaves the body more vulnerable to frequent illness and infection. Restorative activities such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga have been shown to have numerous benefits, including promoting immune health. Calming herbs and nutrients (Pathway Relaxation Support) can also provide additional support for stress.
Regularly engaging in moderate exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. As little as 20 minutes of daily exercise has been shown to support immune health by reducing inflammation.
6. Bundle up.
Many people have an increased susceptibility to getting sick when not properly protected from the cold. Keep your body warm when outdoors by wearing a scarf, hat, gloves and warm socks. Treat your feet to cozy slippers when indoors.
7. Sleep 7-8 hours nightly.
Restful sleep is so important to restoring and healing the body. If sleep is a concern for you, try incorporating relaxation exercises, breathing techniques and other forms of stress reduction. Consider taking an herbal sleep formula (Pathway Sleep Support), if additional help is needed.
8. Stay hydrated with plenty of water and herbal teas.
Adequate fluid intake supports all of your body’s functioning, including the immune system. Avoid iced beverages in winter and opt for room temperature water and enjoy hot teas. Immune-boosting herbs for teas include: echinacea, ginger, elderberry, licorice, eleuthero, reishi, schisandra and astragalus.
9. Wash your nasal passages.
Your nasal passages are the first line of defense against pathogens. Rinsing your sinuses daily with a neti pot, saline solution, or an herbal saline spray helps to keep mucous membranes clean and functioning properly. It is a simple and cost-effective way of protecting you against illness.
10. Supplement for both prevention and acute support.
Even with the best diet, experts agree that taking additional vitamins, minerals and nutrients are optimal. While it is so important to address your unique needs, a daily regimen of a high-quality multivitamin, vitamin D3, probiotics, and omega-3-essential fatty acids is a fantastic place to start for most individuals. During cold and flu season, taking additional daily support to help boost your defenses is recommended. And, if you feel something coming on, begin acute support immediately.
Cold & Flu Support for ADULTS
Daily Immune Support
• Sinus Survival SinuThyme – 1 capsule, three times daily
• Pathway Zinc Lozenges – 1 lozenge every 2-4 hours
• AlliUltra – 2 capsules, three times daily
• Pathway Oregano Oil – 1 capsule, three times daily
Cold & Flu Support For KIDS
Daily Immune Support
• Pathway Elderberry Syrup – 1 tsp daily
Acute Immune Support
You can download Village Green's sheet on Cold and Flu Season Support.
Photo from here, with thanks.