We’ve all heard of the ways to stay healthy during the flu season. Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, and get your flu shot. Here are five other ways to keep your immune system strong that aren’t typically touched upon.
Eat foods to support the immune system
Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a nutrient that our bodies turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant, meaning it helps rejuvenate cells and fights off antibodies. Other foods with beta-carotene are carrots, pumpkins and peppers.
Almonds have vitamin E and nutritious omega-3 fats. Vitamin E helps protect cells against damage. Other foods high in vitamin E include eggs, seeds, nuts and whole grains.
Yogurt gives your body much needed probiotics. Your stomach is home to almost 25 percent of immune cells. In order for them to stay healthy they need probiotics. Fermented foods contain probiotics because “good bacteria” is added or induced to preserve the food instead of rotting it. Foods with probiotics are coconut milk, soymilk, sauerkraut and miso. All of these foods have live cultures or are fermented.
Swap out coffee for tea
The tea brand, Traditional Medicinals, has a few different teas that help with immune system. Echinacea plus with elderberry, Throat Coat Echinacea and Gypsy Cold Care are some of my favorite flavors. At under $5 a box, they won’t break the bank.
Most airborne pathogens enter your body through your nose and mouth. One thing you can do to help fight germs is to keep your nose and mouth moist. Cold weather can be drying, when cold season is coming. Use a saline nasal spray to help your body adjust.
Instead of using harmful hand sanitizer that kills both bad and good bacteria, try diluting essential oils to make a natural sanitizer. Some essential oils that are known for killing bacteria are cinnamon, eucalyptus, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and tea tree.
Homemade Electrolyte Popsicles
If you unfortunately do end up with the flu, making your own electrolyte popsicles can help decrease the amount of time you have to stay in bed. Store bought electrolyte popsicles are full of sugar and unnatural food dyes, which can prolong the flu. By making your own you avoid things that might make you sicker, and save money.
Mix a half-cup of orange juice, a tablespoon of lemon juice, one cup of water or coconut water, one to two tablespoons of raw honey or maple syrup, and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Freeze overnight in Dixie cups, then enjoy a cool and rejuvenating snack.