Sleep: Studies have shown that plenty of sleep naturally increases your immune system's ability to fight off infection. Patients often report catching a cold or the flu when they are sleep deprived. Try to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep regularly, and even more when you are run down and have a cold or infection. Naps help to increase your total number of hours of sleep. Here is a fascinating video on "Why do we sleep?" from TEDtalks (VIDEO link).
Avoid sugar: Studies have shown that consuming sugar (even in a cuppa) reduces the body's natural immunity cells (white blood cells) from doing their job for hours after consuming it. This is very important, because people sometimes ingest sugar without knowing it, and sometimes this happens at every meal. This can reduce the immune system's fighting ability for most hours of the day.
Veggies and Fruit: Foods that help increase immunity are garlic, fruits and veggies that contain Vitamin C, E and zinc such as colourful veggies, apples, grapes, spinach, and carrots.
Reduce Your Stress: Life is stressful, but there are ways to reduce your daily stress. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine a quiet place in nature can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and a stress hormone called "cortisol". Doing this to reduce your stress will help boost your immune system so you can recover faster.
Laughter: Laughing at a funny movie or laughing with friends is also a good way to both reduce stress and boost your immune system. It also helps with a sense of overall well being. So find your favourite funny DVD or television comedy while you rest your flu or cold.
All of these tips can really help to avoid sickness this winter and to recover more quickly.
Studies have shown that when scientists subject people to the flu virus, not all of them become sick. This is a very important concept and shows that the quality of the immune system can be just as important as exposure to bacteria and viruses.
Use these tips this flu season and stay well!
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