Winter Colds are Inevitable…Or Are They?

We’ve all been sick and are likely to get sick again. Being holed up in our homes and offices during cold-weather months tends to increase the likelihood of catching a bug from our families and co-workers. That doesn’t mean we should just give in to the inevitable—there are things we can all do to ameliorate the winter chill or even stave it off altogether. Below are some tips to help keep the cold symptoms at bay.

Immunity-Boosting Nutrition

Below are just a few suggested foods to add to your dietary roster during the winter months to help keep your body performing at its highest level.

  • Fennel: This veggie may increase your white blood cells which are responsible for destroying bacteria and viruses in the body. Not sure how to prepare fennel? Try roasting it with olive oil or make into a soup.
  • Yogurt: Since 60% of your immunity lies in your gut, probiotic-filled yogurt can be a great winter food. Yogurt also has anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your health on all levels.
  • Green tea: Full of antioxidants, green tea is not just warming to the body, it can keep free radicals away. Try adding in some antimicrobial-fighting honey to boost your chances of feeling better sooner.
  • Garlic: Not only is it great for flavoring food, garlic also helps get rid of bacteria in the body.
  • Red peppers, berries, mangoes and other vitamin C-rich foods: These help boost the immune system. Including these foods are a regular part of your diet may help shorten the duration of cold symptoms if and when they crop up.
  • Salmon, eggs and other vitamin D-rich foods: Vitamin D can lessen the risk of developing upper respiratory infections like colds. To combat these infections, aim to get a dose of 8,000 to 10,000 IUs a week. (Fun fact: both the VitaYears™ Anti-Aging Multivitamin and VitaYears™ Prostate Support Supplement from SciLife include vitamin D in their formulas.)

Physical Activity

How you move your body is just as important as what you eat when keeping the winter chills away. After all, working out enables your “natural killer cells” to hunt for viruses lurking within the body. Even going for a 30-minute walk every day can help boost your white blood cell count and help fight sickness.

Already coming down with a case of the sniffles? If your infection is respiratory, avoid intense exercise until the symptoms subside. If your symptoms fall into the head cold camp, focus on light-to-moderate levels of exercise. When sick, avoid strenuous workouts as these may increase your vulnerability to infection by placing more stress on an already compromised immune system.

Keep Stress Levels Down

High levels of stress tend to cause overproduction of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. As the body focuses on keeping itself alive, immune system functioning tends to suffer. It doesn’t help that winter tends to bring on a number of stressors that we may not otherwise face throughout the year—inclement weather; holidays pressures; social isolation. Do what you have to keep stress levels minimized. Treat yourself to some self-care: take baths regularly; get a massage; focus on getting a solid night’s sleep every night; practice yoga and meditation; try some deep breathing exercises.

Prioritizing Your Health in the Winter Benefits Everyone

There is never a convenient time to get sick—not even in the winter when bugs and infections abound. While the suggestions above are useful in promoting total health year-round, it’s especially important to prioritize taking care of yourself during the winter months. Tending to your health doesn’t just benefit you, after all—safeguarding your body against winter bugs increases the likelihood that your family and coworkers will also stay healthy during this oft-challenging season by decreasing their exposure to infectious entities. Prioritizing self-care helps you face and conquer everyday challenges that may otherwise seem daunting. Our goal at SciLife™ is to support you in discovering total body wellness, both through sharing the latest in health news and research and in providing you with high-quality supplements and multivitamins that target and support different areas of your life to help you feel like your most vital self.