I love the cool, crisp feeling of fall air. Autumn is truly a magical time of year. The kids are in the classroom once again, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are changing... but leaves and weather are not the only big changes happening.
One of the only drawbacks of this lovely changing season is increased exposure to germs. Shorter days and cooler weather means we are spending more time indoors and in closer proximity to each other, which, along with less exposure to Vitamin D producing sunlight, less fresh produce and more sugary treats, contributes to cold & flu season. With so many inevitable viruses and bacterial infections making their way throughout your community, you may wonder what you can do to strengthen your family's health. Here are our top five easy and natural ways to strengthen your immunity and prevent disease!
Being properly hydrated is essential to many body functions and helps to keep the mucous membranes (lining the sinuses and mouth) healthy so that viruses and bacteria cannot invade healthy cells. It also helps to flush out toxins in the body, including viruses and bacteria. So, start your day with a large glass of water, and set a timer on your phone to keep drinking throughout the day!
Fresh fruits and vegetables
During the holiday season, it can be tempting to reach for cookies, chips, and candy, but eating these sugary foods is a missed opportunity for fueling your body with fruits and vegetables that help build immunity. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients that help the immune system, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Fruits and vegetables are a tasty treat, and there are so many ways to savor them. So, get creative, make eating fruits and vegetables a fun and tasty treat, and enjoy the flavors and the health benefits!
Zinc supplements have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of infections and promote a healthy immune system. When there are many illnesses spreading, you can give your kids a throat spray with zinc before they go to school in the morning. Your body stores some zinc in your throat and sinuses, which acts as your first line of defense when around other sick people. If you want to consume foods that are high in zinc, grab some turkey, chicken, salmon, black beans, pumpkin seeds, milk, eggs, whole grains, and mushrooms.
Orange vegetables are all around us, especially at this time of year. Keep vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and of course pumpkin, in mind. These vegetables are high in beta carotene, a nutrient that is essential to immune system function. When eaten, the beta carotenes found in these tasty vegetables go to work protecting the mucous membranes (which line the sinuses and mouth) from yeast, funguses, viruses and bacteria. Remember to keep orange veggies on your list of side dishes to eat along with the main course. They have a sweet flavor and are a great way to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters!
Use supplements proactively-not reactively
Just like cramming for a test at the last minute, giving your family supplements after they have already begun showing signs of illness is not as effective as giving it to them preventatively. It is best to give your immune system the nutrients that it needs proactively, so that when your family members are inevitably exposed, their body is already prepared. Taking a high-quality daily multivitamin may help prevent nutritional gaps that may lead to a weakened immune system.
It is my hope that you and your family will enjoy this lovely season illness-free. We may sometimes feel powerless when it comes to cold & flu season, but fortunately, there are many simple things that can be done to help keep ourselves and those we love healthy.
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