While the flu shot is an important factor in preventing the flu each season, there are also other habits that can keep you healthy. And best of all, many of them are natural. Try these five health-boosting, all-natural tips for staving off the flu this winter.
Get Plenty of Rest
When you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system (as well as other physical processes) suffers. That means you’re more susceptible to the germs that cause the flu and the common cold, and your body has a harder time fighting off illnesses. Most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, and children need even more.
Getting enough physical activity is a great way to avoid the flu–and to be healthier overall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most adults should exercise for at least 30 minutes at moderate intensity on most days of the week.
Adjust Your Diet
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains helps ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs to fight off a virus. Cut out the sugary snacks and fatty fried foods. And certain vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin C, are great flu fighters. Salmon is a great source of vitamin D, which helps regulate the immune system.
Drink plenty of water to make sure that the immune system can operate at peak performance. Some experts recommend at least 100 ounces a day. In addition to water, choose broth or sports drinks over sodas and sugary juices. Avoid drinking alcohol, which has a negative impact on the efficiency of the immune system. By the same token, you should consider running a humidifier in your home. This can help prevent the spread of the flu virus, which thrives in dry air.
Practice Good Manners
If you aren’t feeling well, stay home and rest. Not only will the extra sleep help you get well sooner, but you’ll avoid spreading the virus to others. A nurse who completed his RN to MSN online at USF recommends coughing, if you need to, into the crook of your elbow to limit the spread of germs. Avoid others in the workplace who are coughing and sneezing, and encourage coworkers to stay home when symptoms arise. Don’t be afraid to politely decline shaking hands if you are worried about getting infected.
These natural habits are not only easy and inexpensive, but they can go a long way toward helping you stay healthy throughout the flu season. And, if you do get infected, people in better overall health tend to have less severe symptoms.