If we hadn’t already learned it in kindergarten, another life lesson 2020 has taught us is to follow basic hygiene to prevent getting sick. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and disinfect surfaces. But there are plenty of other measures we can take to give us some control this flu season and increase the odds that we’ll emerge this spring unscathed. Embrace these five tips now and face flu season free of fear.
We know that getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night is vital to staving off a variety of health issues, but now researchers have discovered a direct link between sleep and our immune system. T cells, specialized immune cells that come to bat for the body when a harmful foreign substance enters it, are better able to attach and destroy infected cells when our bodies have been properly rested.
According to a study conducted at the Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, mindfulness meditation can lower your chances of getting the flu this winter. In a randomized study of 413 participants ages 30-69 years old, researchers found that meditators who attended eight weeks of meditation classes and one five-hour weekend retreat were 25% less likely to get the flu than the control group. Lower your stress and boost your immune system.
Eat The Rainbow
A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will support your immune system to fight the good fight. Some favorites? Carrots fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. Berries and citrus fruits are chock full of vitamin C which can protect cells from inflammation. Leafy greens such as kale, collards and spinach are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K. And keep the flu vampires away with garlic on everything. Studies have shown that it reduces the risk of becoming sick and that, if you do, garlic can lessen the severity of symptoms.
For hundreds of millions of years mushrooms have thrived in some of the harshest conditions on earth, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re packed with compounds that can help us withstand the wilds of flu season. Studies have shown that adaptogenic mushrooms can stimulate and modulate our immune system, strengthening our natural defense mechanism to fight infection. Additionally, mushrooms are a great source for beta-glucans, which have been shown to protect against bacteria, viruses and pathogenic microorganisms. Check out Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps mushrooms to reap the benefits of this ancient medicine.