Everyone’s got their #basic pumpkin spice lattes and flannels on for fall, but sooner than later, the doom and gloom of winter aka cold and flu season will be upon us. And if you’ve got a bunch of little ones, you already know when one gets sick, they all get sick, thus putting a pause button on life which makes the joy of fall a faint memory. Instead of waiting for symptoms to arise, take the offensive edge and incorporate some of these tips into your fall routine now, in hopes of staying well and healthy through the winter months.
Don’t let Halloween haunt you
Halloween is one day only and if you leave it at that, then you’ll be just fine. Studies have shown that sugar literally halts your immune response each and every time your body consumes it–so it’s easy to see how a season of candy followed by pumpkin pie followed by holiday cookies is the prime time to get sick. Make sure you and the fam eat a filling, healthful dinner before hitting the streets for trick or treating, and after the night passes, move on from that bucket of candy.
Load up on immune boosting foods
Everyone talks about vitamin C, but protein, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin E all play an equally important role in your body’s immune response. Include foods hearty in these nutrients and you’ll be improving your chances of protecting yourself against infection.
Protein: lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds
Vitamin A: eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, squash, melon, kale and broccoli
Vitamin C: cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts, kiwi, tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppers
Vitamin E: nuts, broccoli, kale, spinach, avocadoes, olive oil, and eggs
Zinc: oats, shellfish, dark chocolate, cheese, eggs, spinach, legumes, nuts and seeds
Some studies have shown that including elderberry in your cold and flu season prep may help minimize the symptoms or shorten the duration of the cold or flu. If you’re saying elder-what, elderberries come from the European elder plant and they have been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation and boost the immune response. Find a high-quality syrup or make your own. Note that pregnant or nursing women should consult with their doctor before use.
Chronic inflammation in the body can fall into many different categories—trouble sleeping, skin conditions, depression, and so much more. Many of the population is encountering some sort of inflammation, and when the body is “inflamed”, the risk of illness is greater. Cherries, walnuts, and ginger are three anti-inflammatory foods that you can incorporate into your snack and cooking regimen.
If you don’t take a probiotic yet, now is a good time to start. In layman’s term, a probiotic is healthy bacteria. And these healthy bacteria live in your GI tract—along with about 80% of your immune system. So, healing your gut and taking care of it, is imperative to staying healthy. Choose a probiotic that is right for you—there are different strains that can have a greater impact on certain conditions, but for general immunity, Lactobacillus GG, Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium longum are good strains to start with (Healthline).
Staying healthy like a mother is crucial because no one’s got time for mama to be sick. Make these positive, but small changes or additions to your diet and lifestyle and you might just avoid the plague this season.