Photo via Flickr (sammyjayjay)
Last week, I had a bad cold that had me coughing, sneezing, and blowing my nose for several days. I don’t know about you, but I usually get at least three colds during the winter. As I rested in bed last week, I started to wonder what I could do to avoid getting so many colds or even avoid the flu. So I decided to look into how I could strengthen my immune system, and here’s what I found. Enjoy!
Spices and Vegetables That Strengthen Your Immune System
Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices, so I was thrilled when I found it on a list of spices that can help prevent colds and flu. Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory that can be sprinkled on almost any food to make it taste better. You may want to consider having some for breakfast on your cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal. Other spices that have anti-inflammatory properties are ginger, turmeric, and rosemary.
Garlic has both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral elements that can fight off colds and the flu. Garlic is most effective when it is eaten raw. So try slicing up some garlic cloves to add to a sandwich or sprinkling them over soup or a salad to give it more taste. Sweet potatoes, onions, and mushrooms are other vegetables with ingredients that help ward off colds and the flu.
Drinks That Can Protect You Against Colds and the Flu
Many people drink black tea to build up their immune system. It contains many beneficial ingredients, including catechins. Catechins are antioxidants that strengthen the immune system. Green tea can also give a boost to the immune system. Honey is a great way to sweeten the tea as it has it’s own medicinal properties that help fight off the cold or flu. Tomato juice has antioxidants as well as lycopene that helps to move germs out of a person’s system. In addition, grapefruit and orange juice have lots of vitamin C that adds to the health of the body.
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Activities to Boost Your Immune System
Getting regular exercise can help your immune system to fight off infections like colds and the flu. Doing exercise can raise the body’s temperature, preventing the growth of bacteria. Sleeping for at least eight hours per night is another way to strengthen your immune system. When you get an adequate amount of sleep, your cortisol levels stay regulated. High levels of this hormone can negatively affect the immune system. By the way, taking a warm bath before bedtime can help you to relax and fall asleep more easily. I like to light candles and play soft music to help me relax even more at bath time. Cutting down on alcohol consumption can also help you to ward off colds and the flu. Drinking a large amount of alcohol can affect the efficiency of the immune system. And getting out into the sunshine for several hours a day helps your body to make vitamin D. Vitamin D creates antibodies and contributes to the health of the immune system. I love getting out for a walk in the sunshine even if it’s cold outside; don’t you? I make it a point to walk with my dog Basil for at least 30 minutes a day.
I really hope some of these ideas help you to avoid getting a cold or the flu this winter.