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Skip sick days-why a healthy diet and exercise can keep you healthy through flu season


Who has time to be sick?

It’s already begun. If it hasn’t affected you yet, there’s still a good chance it will. It’s going to be a long season. Prepare for it now-Flu Season

The change in weather, the kids back in school catching and spreading germs, and increased time indoors are all contributors to the common cold and flu.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick.” Therefore, you may be spreading the flu before you even realize you have it.

The best way to avoid the flu this year is to receive the flu shot, but even then there’s no guarantee you’ve dodged the bullet.

Other illnesses such as the common cold can set you back just as much. This year stop the cold before it slows you down.

From past experience I’m sure you know the basics of cold/flu prevention: wash your hands regularly, drink plenty of fluids, get fresh air, rest and relax when you feel symptoms coming on, but the real preventive action is being healthy from the inside out. You can strengthen your immune system through regular exercise, and by including more vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Studies have shown that people who get a moderate amount of physical activity every week experience 20-30 percent fewer colds compared to those who don’t exercise regularly or exercise at low intensity. Exercise boosts your immune system by increasing blood flow and the circulation of disease fighting cells, which allows your body to quickly destroy viruses and bacteria more efficiently.

A study in the American Journal of Medicine discovered that T-cells (a type of white blood cell that aids in fighting infection and illness) “in 65-year olds who exercised regularly was as high as those of people in their 30s.”

Exercise isn’t the sole component in cold/flu prevention. Your nutrition is equally if not more important. You may have heard the saying “feed a cold.” It’s true that increasing your intake of proper nutrients may help you get back on track, but unfortunately most people wait until they are sick to start eating healthier and then slip back into their old habits once they feel better. Receiving enough antioxidants in your diet is key in cold

Through the natural and continuous production of energy our bodies create free radicals. These free radicals help fight disease and eliminate toxins in the body. Free radicals are usually created in excess; therefore antioxidants keep the body in balance and prevent oxidative stress.

When our body is under stress, infection, pollution, and so forth, our natural amount of antioxidants cannot handle the job. By eating foods that are high in vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene you can up your amount of daily antioxidants.

A colorful diet ensures proper amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in color are packed with nutrients. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include: oranges, kiwi, red, green, yellow peppers, and tomatoes. Foods that are rich in vitamin E include: nuts and seeds, fish, and beans. Foods rich in beta-carotene include: sweet potatoes, beets, asparagus, pumpkin, and squash.

This year be ready and chase the flu and common cold away. Increase your physical activity, eat a balanced, colorful diet, and boost your immunity for the present and future.

Save your “sick days” for something far more enjoyable.