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Winter Health and Happiness
No one likes the feeling of feeling under the weather. Slow down and support your immune system.
When the body aches with chills, headache, sore throat, coughing, and is just generally feeling fatigued and unwell, listen to your body.
Those are all flu symptoms. It is trying to tell you to slow down and support your immune system; so you can combat the virus. Most importantly, stay home and rest.
As the cooler northern weather sets in and we find ourselves confined to the indoors, it can be tricky to dodge those awful flu bugs floating around. Health Canada estimates every year there are on average approximately: 12,200 hospitalizations; 3,500 deaths in Canada due to influenza.
Along with getting a flu shot, all things considered, prevention is key. Here are a few practical prevention tips to help stay flu-free this winter season and help minimize your risk.
Get Enough Shut-Eye
Ensure your body is getting the proper rest it needs. Be consistent with your sleep time schedule. In the winter season, follow the circadian rhythm system for rest. When it is dark, go to bed. Turn off the electronics. For shift workers, it is not always the easiest to get the 7 or 8 hours sleep required, but do your best to rest your body. You need to set up a sleep schedule, just like you would an exercise or dietary program. Make a conscious effort to focus on sleeping habits. What time are you going to bed? Do you wake up feeling rested?
Reduce Sugar Intake
Reduce or eliminate the sugar in your diet. Lay off the sugar in your coffee, the sugary breakfast cereals and granola bars. Sugar lowers your immune defenses. When your body is feeling rundown or you have that scratchy throat feeling, you are actually feeling the signs that your body is trying to fight off a virus.
If that is the case, consume some raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Herbal teas and bone broth can help strengthen the immune system as well. Be nice to your digestive system, so the immune system can fight the virus.
Consider Vitamin C
Don’t underestimate the power of vitamin C. This powerful micronutrient does not stay in the body, so it is important to continue to take it every couple of hours. A 600 mg to1000 mg dose every 6 to 8 hours is a good standard when those flu-like symptoms start appearing. In order to get this amount, it needs to be supplemented. You will not get the higher doses from food.
Here is one special, immune supporting herb you may not be as familiar with that can help your immune system weather the storm. Andrographis is a herb native to India. It is used mostly as an immune support and for treating the common cold and flu.
According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “this herb has a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, and anti-microbial properties. It supports the immune system by stimulating antibodies to ward off harmful pathogens.”
Andrographis should be taken at the first sign of flu and cold like symptoms. It can help reduce the severity of the symptoms and the recovery time.
If you are feeling under the weather, be mindful of others. Although your immune system may be stronger, others may not. It is very important to minimize your contact with others, especially the elderly and young children.
I hope these practical prevention tips will help you feel ready to ward off those nasty flu bugs.
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Vicky J. Hachey, has been busy the last 20 years helping people make positive lifestyle and nutritional changes.
She is the owner of INTENT Nutrition & LifeStyle Consulting and a franchisor of Good Health Mart in Hamilton, Ontario.
Vicky also conducts workshops. If you want to learn more and just some day-to-day practical nutritional tips, you can find her at: www.talktovicky.com