By Vicki Little
We all know the basics of staying healthy. Get a good night’s sleep, avoid stress, take your vitamin C, wash your hands often, and sanitize all of your work surfaces. But there are a few additional things that you can do to help lower your risk of catching the cold or flu that aren’t often discussed.
- Increase your vitamin D. You know to up your vitamin C intake during the cold and flu months, but were you aware that you should be upping your vitamin D, too? Your levels naturally go lower since you are in the sun less often, so you will need to supplement with foods or vitamins. Vitamin D helps the immune system by reducing the level of inflammatory proteins and increasing the level of naturally occurring antibiotics.
- Pay attention to your hands. Of course you should be washing your hands often, but you should also be applying lotion after you wash them. Dry hands create cracks that allow germs to get in. You also may want to reconsider chewing your nails and literally transferring all the germs from your hands right into your mouth.
- Use more ginger and garlic in your cooking. Stinky breath may be less of a concern when you learn that garlic contains allicin, which is an immune-stimulating nutrient. Adding a few dashes of ginger will also be beneficial since it contains shagaols and gingerol, both of which stimulate blood circulation and, in turn, help your body remove more toxins.
- Drink less alcohol. Yes, the occasional hot toddy while you are sick may hit the spot (and is actually beneficial if you include honey in it!), but avoiding alcohol in general can help boost your immune system. Even occasional drinks can cause you to have a less-restful sleep, which will increase your risk for catching a cold or flu.
- Use your own pen for everything. While this one may seem a bit weird initially, it is actually quite helpful in decreasing your risks of catching an illness. Using your own pen for signing in at the doctor or at school, signing your own receipt at stores (even with the keypad, you can use the back of your pen to sign instead of your finger or the stylus provided) — all of these steps will limit the chances of touching something that someone who is sick has just touched.
Do you have a less-common way of staying healthy?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers watching her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time… well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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