5 ways to avoid the cold and flu

No one likes getting a cold, and certainly not the flu. It’s tedious, it makes us less productive, we’re sore, we don’t sleep well, we can’t eat, we are tired all the time, and not to mention the nasty sore throat and runny nose.

It’s just bad. We can’t wait for it to go away and to feel normal again.

So, what can we do about it? Well, getting a cold or the flu from time to time is normal. However, there are precautions that we can take to ensure that we get sick as rarely as possible:

1.Make regular exercise a part of your life

This might sound counterintuitive to you, but hear me out:

Regular exercise provides numerous benefits. It aids in fat loss, it regulates your appetite, it improves your cognitive function, energy levels, and mood. It also strengthens your immune system.

Having a strong immune system makes you more resilient to the common cold and the flu.

However, exercise can be a double-edged sword. Get enough of it regularly, and you can expect these awesome benefits. But, get too much strenuous exercise, and you could suppress your immunity, overtrain yourself and become more susceptible to different illnesses.

If you’re just starting out, 20 to 30 minutes of exercise done 3-4 times per week should be enough.

2.Improve your nutrition

What we eat can have a profound effect on how our bodies function, recover, deal with stressors and fight off diseases.

Malnutrition is a serious problem. The modern diet of most people severely lacks protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. We mostly consume lots of fats (and trans fats), quick carbohydrates, little protein and nothing in the way of vitamins and minerals.

The problem is, this severely undermines your body’s ability to ward off illnesses. 

Start incorporating more whole, nutritious foods into your diet such as fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes, lean meats, fish, dairy, and eggs.

And on that note:

3.Consume more foods rich in vitamin C & E or supplement with them

These two vitamins play a crucial role for proper immune system function, among other things. Here are some food suggestions:

Vitamin C: kiwi, orange, grapefruit, broccoli, kale, brussel sprout, mango, red & green pepper, strawberries, and guava.

Vitamin E: spinach, sweet potato, avocado, olive oil, trout, herring, tuna, almonds, hazelnut, peanut, sunflower seeds, and Brazil nuts.

The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg for women.
For vitamin E: 15 mg per day.

Aside from having a rich diet, you can also consider supplementing with these vitamins, especially during the flu season.

4.Get enough sleep

Enough quality sleep doesn’t directly ward against the common cold and the flu, but it’s still important.

Aside from the numerous benefits that sleep provides, it also helps protect against diseases by keeping the stress hormone cortisol in check. Chronically elevated levels of this hormone can lead to immune system suppression and that can open the doors of a whole host of problems.

The general recommendation is to sleep 7 to 9 hours per night.

5.Maintain distance

Last, but not least, keep a healthy distance and take preventive measures:

•    If someone near you is sick, keep a distance and avoid close contact.
•    Wash your hands with warm water and soap regularly, especially before eating. Also, carry some wet wipes with you in case there’s        no sink nearby.
•    Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. This can spread germs and give them an easy access point.
•    If you work closely with clients (barbershop, grocery store checkout) it’s worth considering a face mask during the flu season.

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