How to Help Your Body Stay Healthy

How to Help Your Body Stay Healthy

Learn how eating well and stressing less can help you fend off a cold.

Nobody likes being sidelined because of an illness. Whether it’s the flu, or just a bug, a sickness can derail well-laid plans and cause shifts in your schedule, leaving you feeling lousy and with the knowledge that there’s a pile of work to be done when you get better.

But instead of taking medicine and hoping for the best, why not keep your body in condition to fight sickness and prevent being under the weather in the first place?

To get your ounce of prevention, check out these tips:

When it comes to diet, there’s a lot you can do to keep the bugs at bay. No. 1 is getting your fill of eight glasses of water daily, which should be part of your regular routine every day, but more so during the colder months. Water is used by every cell in your body and is essential for flushing out toxins and germs. If H20 isn’t your beverage of choice, try adding, lemon wedges or other fruits. Hot tea, especially peppermint tea, is also a good option.

Indulging in heavy, hearty meals is definitely not advisable. Feasting on high-calorie, sugary or fatty foods such as pastries, cookies and highly processed foods increases your blood glucose levels, causing your white blood cells to become sluggish and less able to fight off viruses. Instead, focus on nutrient-rich foods such as low-fat yogurt, nuts and seeds, omega 3-rich fish such as salmon, vitamin-rich vegetables such as leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli, and lean protein such as chicken to help you ward off illness. Also add lots of garlic to your food — it contains allicin, a potent antimicrobial that helps to fend off bacteria and viruses.


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Some of the best antioxidants for keeping you healthy are vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A is a disease-fighting antioxidant and immune-system booster that helps prevent and fight off infections by regulating the immune system that makes white blood cells, which destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 4,000 IU (International Units) daily for women and 5,000 IU daily for men. Vitamin A is found in milk, liver and eggs as well as in carrots, peas, squash and leafy greens. Vitamin C is found in strawberries, kiwis, red peppers and citrus fruits. Aim for between 500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily. Vitamin E is another great fighter. The RDA for women is 8 mg and 10 mg for men. Taking vitamin C along with vitamin E may enhance its antioxidant power.

Stop Stress
Psychological stress can increase your chances of getting sick. But it’s not the stress that makes us ill. Stress sets up other conditions in the body that make us vulnerable. The stress hormone circuit interacts with the immune system, causing levels of important lymphocytes (white blood cells that do most of the fighting) to drop. High levels of cortisone hamper disease-fighting white blood cells because the body, thinking that it’s in acute stress mode, sends the immune cells elsewhere, rather than where they’re needed. Try Tai chi, yoga or other forms of low-impact exercise (if your doctor clears you first, of course). Breathing exercises also help reduce stress.

Try This Stress-Relieving Exercise
Lie down, and take a deep breath into your stomach. Place your hand on your stomach and feel the breath going into the abdomen as it rises. Count to six and slowly breathe out to a count of 10. Repeat until you feel relaxed.

While being sick is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re out and about or at work, keeping these things in mind — eating well, drinking plenty of water and relaxing — can help you fend off sicknesses even during cold season!

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