When the last days of fall slip away and winter comes rolling in, so do the gray skies, cold temperatures and an abundance of new germs. Like the rest of nature, most people tend to hibernate indoors during the colder months and spending time in close proximity with others can facilitate the passing on of the common cold or flu from person to person. While snow and ice are both good reasons to curl up on the couch with a book, no one wants to be confined to the house due to illness.
This year, while stocking up on your winter gear and firewood, don’t forget to make sure you have plenty of these 6 key nutrients to fight off the winter cold.
Honey is often touted as one of nature’s best antibiotics because it fights both bacterial and viral infections without any of the side effects of prescription medications. You can take a teaspoon of honey by itself or add it to a cup of warm tea or lemon water and enjoy it’s soothing effect it has as it coats your throat. For the highest level of antioxidants, choose Buckwheat Honey. Clover honey, commonly found in most grocery stores, does not pack as much of a nutrient dense punch.
Expectant mothers aren’t the only ones who should be adding ginger to their diet. In addition to keeping nausea at bay, this powerful nutrient is a tough match for rhinoviruses, the most common type of cold viruses. Due to its chemical make-up of sesquiterpenes, ginger is a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to finding off the common cold. This amazing nutrient acts as a natural pain and fever reducer and can even suppress coughing. To use it effectively, be sure to buy real ginger and not simply ginger flavored products. Ginger root can be shaved into tea or soup or can be taken in the form of a chew.
3. Vitamin A
The mucous membranes that line our nose and throat are one of the body’s first lines of defense. When we catch a cold, these membranes along with the rest of our immune system, go haywire. Vitamin A is the muscle builder of the immune system and will help strengthen the areas that the cold is trying to attack. Bata- carotene which we get from orange fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A during the digestion process, so make sure your pantry is loaded with orange fruits and vegetables. Carrots, oranges, and sweet potatoes are fantastic sources of this vitamin and will help keep that winter cold out of your kitchen.
It wards off vampires and keeps colds away. What can’t garlic do? This little plant not only boost the immune system and reduces the length of your cold, but also naturally detoxifies the body. Garlic adds great flavor to everyday meals and is easy to add to your diet. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy juice cleanse and top of the line supplements to stay healthy, simply pick up a clove or two of garlic the next time you’re in the produce section.
You may have heard your doctor encouraging you to eat yogurt while taking antibiotics. That’s because while antibiotics kill off bacteria in the body, yogurt replenishes it (the good stuff, that is). The bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri, which is found in most yogurt, blocks the replication of viruses that invade your body when you get sick. An ounce of prevention, in this case, comes in the form of an ounce (or four) of yogurt. Fill your body with the good bacteria so that you won’t need to take those pesky antibiotics in the first place. Check the ingredient label to make sure you are actually buying yogurt that contains the correct type of bacterium.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid proven to fortify the immune system by creating cells that eat bacteria. It also works to protect the lungs from colds and upper respiratory infections. Fish, such as wild caught salmon and sardines, are great sources of omega-3. Throw some anchovies on your pizza or enjoy a tuna sandwich while protecting yourself against an impending winter cold. Not a big fan of seafood? There are many brands of Omega-3 supplements that you can take instead. Make sure you choose the purified fish oil capsules that have a minimum of 1 gram combined of EPA and DHA.
Winter should be spent building snowmen and making snow angels, not fighting colds and viruses. Plummeting temperatures and close quarters indoors can be the perfect storm for the spread of germs and winter illnesses. Be sure to take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your family against any crud that may be lurking around you. Besides practicing good hygiene and getting regular exercise, making sure you are consuming the above nutrients will help ensure your immune system is healthy and strong.
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Sarah Williams is an avid lifestyle blogger, passionate about self-development, health and nutrition. She believes that happiness is a combination of a peaceful mind, self-discipline, and a healthy body. Connect with Sarah at Wingman Magazine [/thrive_text_block]