While more people seem to get colds in the winter months, none of us wants to be feeling horrible and sick in any season. So what can you do to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong? Experts say there is no magic bullet, but nutrition science provides important recommendations that everyone can follow to lessen the chances of getting sick.
• Eat a balanced diet. All nutrients contribute to good health and maintenance of your body's disease fighting capability. Eat lean proteins, unsaturated fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Carrots, apples, broccoli, beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, nuts and seeds are just some examples of foods that are good for you.
Eat natural foods with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to support the immune system. Use immune boosting spices and herbs like turmeric, oregano, and ginger for flavoring your foods. Also, look at what you are eating and see if you are missing a certain nutrient.
Are you eating enough omega 3 fatty acids from fish? Eat salmon, mackerel, or halibut weekly. Or maybe you are not getting enough vitamin D like low fat or non fat milk, yogurt, cheese and fish, or take a vitamin D supplement.
• Get regular exercise. Continual aerobic exercise has been shown to improve immune function and help fight infections, but exhausting exercise has shown to suppress it, so do not overdo it with your routine. Try taking a brisk walk every day. Get at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise five times a week.
• Get adequate sleep. It Will repair your body at night and reduce stress. Try for at least seven hours of sleep a night.
• Drink plenty of liquids daily. Water is best, but tea, unsweetened drinks, and low -salt soups and broths are good additions.
• Monitor stress levels. Too much physical or emotional stress can weaken your immune system. Have balance in your life. Do things that you enjoy. Try a new hobby, read a good book, or spend time with old friends and laugh.
• Wash your hands. Basic personal hygiene is the best protection against many infections.
San Diego Union Tribune
11 November 2011