Winter means holidays, which means lots of socializing at parties, overeating, spending money you don’t have, shorter days, colder temperatures, and of course — long stubborn colds. Is there a connection? Of course, there is. Your immune system, which is your bodies’ natural defense system against pathogen, is weakened by stress and fatigue. December tends to be the month where most people are the most fatigued from the previous eleven. Extra stress creates more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Too much of this hormone wreaks havoc on the normal functioning of the body’s major systems.
There are some very simple and very effective things you can do to keep the most virulent colds away, shorten their lives inside of you and remain healthier December, January, February and on…
1. Drink half to a whole gallon of water a day. Water helps flush out toxins, that gestate, proliferate, and devastate the body. Most people don’t realize how dry and dehydrated they are during winter months, because they don’t sweat. Shorter days slow the metabolism, so the body doesn’t heat up as much, and doesn’t need to sweat. So we don’t think we’re thirsty, when we are. Simultaneously, we tend to drink more alcohol, coffee, and hot cocoa, during the winter months, which promote the elimination of water through urine. So there’s less water in our bodies to flush out toxins. This gives toxins a greater chance to remain in the body and develop into something more destructive. So drink as much water as you can. Even after you have a full blown cold, water still aids in the creation of new cells, so you can renew faster.
2. Diet. Did you know, that when your doctor prescribes antibiotics to you, he’s prescribing protein? Yep. Antibiotics are comprised of proteins. They are also manufactured naturally in the body and are your bodies’ natural defense against viruses and bacteria. Diets higher in protein support a stronger immune system. Even though it’s not considered the miracle defense against the cold it once was, Vitamin C, found most in citrus fruits and leafy vegetables, still shows to help reduce colds by 1 to 1.5 days. Zinc lozenges and sprays have also repeatedly shown, to lessen durations of colds and its inflammatory effects. Maintaining the bodies’ balance of electrolytes — Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, Hydrogen Phosphate and Hydrogen Carbonate, also help keep it hydrated, which is critical for the healthy functioning of the nervous and muscular systems. Diets high in fiber (fruit with skins, green leafy vegetables), also absorb toxins in the colon and eliminate them, so they can’t stick around and do damage.
3. Regular exercise is also a BIG help in preventing the common cold. The increase of circulation, increases the rate of rejuvenation, by speeding oxygen and nutrition to healthy cells, while eliminating dead ones. Major studies have also shown that exercise boosts the immune system for sustained periods of time. This can come in handy during the early stages of a cold. The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends moderate heart-elevating exercise for 30 minutes a day for lowering the risk of respiratory infections. They also report that it may even be beneficial for colds that affect you from the neck up.
4. Reduce your workload-increase your rest. Lowering your stress, lowers the depleting effects of cortisol on the bodies’ immune system. Increasing your rest and regularly achieving REM sleep, saturates your body with Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which naturally bolsters the immune system which repels bacterial and viral attacks.
5. Hygiene is one of the easiest ways to control the spread of pathogen. Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or sleeve is an easy way to prevent spreading pathogen. Washing hands immediately after skin contact, is a very effective way to not take on bacterial or viral pathogen, limiting its ability to make you its next host. Taking hot baths or showers not only rids the skin of contaminants, but they also stimulate a surge of negative ions that help the body boost immune strength.
6. Maintain your bodies’ core temperature. Although cold temperatures don’t directly cause colds. Your body functions optimally at around 98.6 degrees Farenheit. That means all its processes, including your immune system, work more effectively, when your core temperature stays around 98.6 degrees. Insomnia has been linked repeatedly to lower body temperature. If you aren’t resting, your body isn’t recovering itself. If your body is cold, it works harder to warm itself (eg. shivering). If it’s working harder to warm up, energy is being diverted away from bolstering the immune system.
We live in a constant swirl of virulent viruses and bacteria. But we don’t all get sick, because we’re not all good hosts. Strengthen yourself naturally and logically and you can have more fun days on Planet Earth.