I got the idea for writing this article on how to prevent colds because it’s around the time of the year when my friends are coming down left and right.
It doesn’t help that the winter of 2013-2014 has been one of the coldest in recent memory. Good thing I’m not experiencing it because I live in Southern California. It was a frigid 70 degrees yesterday in San Diego County. 🙂
But hey, I know how everyone in the glacier zone feels. I grew up in Toronto, so winters used to be a fact of life for me. I never left the house in January and February unless I had on at least 15 layers.
Winter usually means cold season. Head and chest colds used to be a real challenge for me. I would get sick at least twice during winter, sometimes one after the other. However, things are different now.
I’ve come to learn that it’s possible to beat colds if you take proper precautions. By doing the things I discuss below, I rarely ever get sick anymore. And when I do, I usually have it kicked without much fuss.
The best part is that I don’t need take any medication. Just don’t believe in them anymore.
1. Reduce Stress as Much as Possible
Part of the cure is to prevent the illness from developing in the first place. One of the most common ways we get sick is when we let our guard down and allow stress to overtake our lives. I know for me, stress is the number one cause for coming down with cold symptoms.
I know reducing stress is easier said then done. Nonetheless, consider cutting back on travel plans, commitments, and big money outlays. All these things are big stressors. Your body already has enough to deal with when the weather changes. You don’t need the extra commitments to take you down further.
Find some time each day for relax and meditate for at least 15 minutes. This will help unload a lot of your negative energy caused by stress.
2. Exercise Regularly
Most people tend to stop exercising during the winter. Maybe it’s because they can’t go out anymore. Maybe it’s the shorter days. Maybe they stop caring about the way their bodies look because it’s wrapped in 20 layers.
Winter is the best time to exercise! This is actually my secret strategy for staying healthy. I actually increase my workout intensity during the winter. It helps that I only workout at home.
Not only does exercise boost my immune system, but it keeps my body ready for the summer. Remember that summer bodies are not made during the spring or summer. The foundation is laid during January.
A lot of contemporary research supports the theory that exercise causes a positive increase in immunity and a reduction in upper-respiratory illness. During and up to 3 hours after you exercise there is an increase in production and circulations of immunities that fight against illness. Studies also show that people who continue with a daily workout program for an extended time are 25%-50% percent less likely to develop upper-respiratory illnesses compared to those who sit on their butts.
Maintaining leanness and an active lifestyle even when it’s cold outside reduces inflammation, an underlying factor in several chronic diseases. Don’t stop working out just because it’s cold outside!
3. Eat Healthy
Momma was right when she told you to take your vitamins and eat your veggies. Eating healthy foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will keep your body healthy inside and out. The three main immunity-building vitamins you want to take are vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene (vitamin A). Antioxidant minerals, such as zinc and selenium, are also great additions.
Look for colorful fruits and veggies (purple, yellow, green, red, orange, and blue). They are usually high in antioxidants. Not only do the colors look pretty, but their brightness can really cheer you up.
Foods high in vitamin E include, carrots, mangoes, nuts, red peppers, spinach, papaya, and broccoli. Vitamin C rich foods include berries, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, nectarines, oranges, peppers, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Beta-carotene is found in foods such as apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip, collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelons.
Many of these foods are still obtainable even in the dead of winter thanks to the Southern hemisphere. Don’t want to bother with a shopping list? Try my one-stop secret weapon for getting all my antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in one daily serving.
4. Get Your Rest
Getting enough sleep is one excellent way to prevent colds. Lack of sleep is a stressor that lowers your immune system. During sleep, the body restores and regenerates antibodies to ward off infections. According to researchers, our bodies reorganize and regulate during sleep. When we’re snoozing, we produced antogens and hormones which fight off disease and infections. A specific role of sleep in the formation of immunological memory. If you are getting appropriate amounts of sleep (approximately 8 hours a night) you are more likely to remain healthy.
No complaints from me. I love sleep.
5. Stay Away from Germs
This is basic stuff but it bears repeating. Help your immune system by avoiding germs as much as possible. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and keep them away from your eyes, noise, ears, and mouth (the most common places for viruses and bacteria to enter your system).
If soap and water are not available, then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is an okay alternative. Also, no need to bother with the anti-bacterial soap. They are no more effective at rinsing away germs than the regular kind.
6. Hydrate Frequently
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. This will help flush out any toxins in your system that could hijack your health. Drink about 8-9 glasses a day to ensure you are cleansing your system.
7. Stay Positive
Keep a positive attitude. Research suggests that having an optimistic outlook towards the everyday challenges of life leads to increased health, peace of mind, and a longer life. Pessimists have almost 20 percent more likelihood of dying early than the optimists. The most pessimistic, anxious, and depressed people in one study had a 30 percent greater chance of dying young, compared with the most optimistic, least anxious, and least depressed in the group. The optimists also report they had fewer health problems in general.
Final Thoughts on How To Prevent Colds
There’s no reason to tolerate colds. They don’t have to be a part of the winter season. I proved it to myself that illness is totally preventable. When I started eating better, exercising more, and getting enough rest, I was able to prevent colds. When I do get the occasional cold, I kick it in no time.
The bottom line is that when your body is working at its peak, disease and illness, even the common cold, is not really a factor.
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Do you have any questions about this article or anything relating to health, fitness, and weight loss? Email me at connectwithJade@getresponse.com. I love to hear from my readers!