Welcome to flu season. We know, it’s not exactly what you want to hear! But between everyone coughing and sneezing up a storm and constantly worrying that we will get infected, it's on our minds. Furthermore, this year is supposed to be especially nasty when it comes to the flu, so it’s time to start preparing for the worst! In addition to upping our antioxidant intake with even more superfoods, there are a few tips and tricks to follow to help you stay healthy during this year’s flu season. Let's take a look:
1. Skip the Diet
While we don’t recommend cutting calories as a form of a diet (or diets at all, for that matter), if there’s one time you should really avoid limiting your caloric intake is during cold and flu season. According to research at Michigan State University, cutting calories makes you more susceptible to contracting the flu. Even worse, studies have shown that mice with a reduced caloric intake who were infected with the flu stayed sick longer and experienced worse symptoms. Put simply, cutting calories can potentially hurt your immune system, and now is the worst time of the year to do that to your body.
2. Get Some Shut-Eye
Sufficient sleep is a huge factor in supporting a healthy immune system, and it goes without saying that it’s not something many of us get every night. But much like cutting calories, getting five or less hours of sleep per night can not only make you more prone to infection, but it can also leave you with a much longer recovery time afterwards. Feel like you’ve caught something? You’re way better off staying home and getting some shut-eye than pushing through with over-the-counter cold medicine and heading to work. Plus, your coworkers will thank you for keeping your germs to yourself.
3. Take the Time to Exercise
We know, finding the time to exercise can seem impossible, but we promise it’s not only doable, but it’s extremely important during cold and flu season. Many researchers have referred to physical activity as one of “the best preventative drugs” because it helps fight off everything ranging from minor illness to cancer and stroke. How? When you exercise, you help your blood pump and more effectively circulate all of those great vitamins and minerals you get from your superfoods throughout your body. Once again, enhanced immunity comes much easier than you might expect.
4. Get That Vitamin D
In addition to antioxidant rich superfoods like our Greenpowder Blend Powder or Goji Berry Powder, incorporating more vitamin D into your diet has also been shown to provide some protective effects against the flu. More specifically, researchers have discovered that individuals who have low vitamin D levels displayed the most preventative benefits against illness when given supplements. That being said, if you’ve been diagnosed with an illness that causes vitamin D deficiency, or if you simply know your levels are low, speak to your physician or health expert about incorporating more into your diet with something like Raw Alfalfa Sprout Powder or Quinoa Sprout Powder.
5. Keep Those Hands Clean - And Away From Your Face
Yes, we know that you’ve heard about the importance of washing your hands before and after eating as well as using the bathroom or sneezing - but we can’t urge it enough. Washing your hands is the number one way to avoid the spread of germs including those that come along with the flu. Additionally, while it’s super easy to give in to the urge to rub your eyes, wipe your hair out of your face, or even scratch your nose or mouth, touching your face is one of the surest ways to come down with the flu. Even if you wash your hands, the tiny microbes that you may have missed will jump at the opportunity to hop into your nose or mouth. Don’t let them in!
6. Discuss the Flu Shot with Your Doctor
We’re not doctors here at Sunburst, nor do we pretend to be. This is entirely an individual decision! Some research has determined that the flu shot is extremely important and effective in stopping the spread and contraction of the flu, while other health professionals aren't proponents of vaccines. According to the CDC, for this flu season (2017-2018), it’s recommended that we avoid using the nasal spray, and stick to the flu vaccine shot instead so we suggest discussing your options with your doctor.