Are you one of those people who seem to get sick more often than others? Keep reading to discover how to increase your immunity to stop catching those annoying colds!
Runny noses, coughs and germs begin to spread like forest fires through offices, nurseries and gyms as we all move inward during the coldest, driest and darkest days of winter.
Nothing disrupts your productivity at work or in the gym faster than a nasty cold. Fight this year and discover how you can stop bacteria and viruses in your path.
Below are the six reasons why you get sick and how you can fix them.
1. Do not follow a seasonal diet
If you follow the patterns of nature and try to eat fresh and seasonal foods, it is surprising how you can correct the deficiencies without even knowing it.
For example, vitamin A is a common deficiency in the general population, and when Vitamin A levels are low, it affects the “first line of defense” of your immune system (ie, neutrophils, macrophages, natural killer cells, etc.)
Vitamin A is found in abundance in orange vegetables that are normally harvested in the fall. Eat pumpkin too.
It helps to rebuild mucosal immunity, keeping the immune army in your sinuses and the strong and impermeable intestinal wall throughout the winter.
The solution to this reason why fall sick more often is to follow an ancestral approach and eat seasonally. Pumpkins, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots are fall classics rich in vitamin A that stimulate the immune system.
They are an excellent choice of grilled vegetables for lunch or dinner, or you can make them pureed in soups to warm them and keep them cold and flu free.
2. You are decaffeinated!
As the days get shorter, you should be resting and recovering more. Unfortunately, the end of the year is usually the most active time for people at work and at home, as we prepare for the holiday season.
The accumulation of stressors, a busy job and a family schedule, lack of sleep and eating at a run are the perfect recipe for fatigue, and the first thing that most people look for is an extra cup of coffee (or two ) throughout the day.
You are already burning the candle at both ends, and by adding more stimulants to the mix, you will tax your nervous system even more. This makes you more likely to get sick with colds or flu.
The solution to this is to take your foot off the accelerator and reduce your coffee consumption by 50%. If you only drink one cup per day, take 1-2 days of rest per week so that your nervous system breaks down and your immune system has a chance to recharge.
As a general rule, always drink your last cup before noon to avoid getting sick.
3. Do not wash your hands long enough
We tell our children to wash their hands before eating, but how many times do you wash yours before you sit down for lunch or eat something after exercise?
We all think we do it, but resting in the winter is a sure way to catch that unpleasant cold in the office, daycare or gym.
How important is hand washing? The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued repeated suggestions to “avoid shaking hands” with business people throughout the winter to avoid the rapid spread of germs.
The solution to this reason is to do as your mom always said: “Wash your hands before eating!” It’s that easy. (Note: soap and water are just as effective as antimicrobial hand sanitizers).
4. Your belly is fighting a losing battle
Did you know that more than 70% of your immune system is in your bowels? That’s right, all the “good” bacteria in your gut play a key role in preventing foreign invaders from penetrating your immune defenses.
However, there are many things in the current environment that can influence the balance of the “good” to the “bad” intestinal flora and cause dysbiosis or the accumulation of too many bad intestinal bacteria.
A hectic schedule, stress, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed foods and the environment can derail a healthy gut and make you sick.
The solution is to add more fermented foods suitable for paleo, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, tamari sauce and yogurt to obtain your daily dose of “good” bacteria.
If you feel exhausted, add a probiotic supplement daily to prevent bacteria from sticking to mucous membranes and penetrating your immune defenses.
If for some reason you have to take antibiotics, be sure to include a probiotic supplement twice a day (away from your medication) to help maintain healthy intestinal flora.
5. Your vitamin D levels are too low
The state of vitamin D is a crucial factor in maintaining health and fighting colds from November to March. Vitamin D upregulates the key antimicrobial proteins that keep foreign bacteria and viruses at bay.
Unfortunately, although ancestral foods such as eggs, pork, fish and mushrooms have some vitamin D, it is usually not enough to maintain their blood levels above 30 ng / ml, the level recommended for the general population.
If you live north of the 49th parallel in a country with a true winter season, maintaining ideal vitamin D levels in the coldest, darkest months is particularly difficult with food alone.
If you are athletic, your vitamin D level becomes even more important. Because of their intense training, athletes have an increased need for vitamin D.
Intense exercise reduces vitamin D levels, and new research is finding out how the deficiency can reduce muscle power output, V02 max (a measure of maximal aerobic fitness), inflammation and recovery. (4)
According to the research, you should maintain your levels above 40 ng / ml throughout the year if your goal is athletic performance.
The solution is to add a vitamin D supplement (2,000-4,000 IU per day) to maintain your levels during the winter months. If you are supplementing at the higher end of this range, test your levels every 8-12 weeks.
Also, be sure to include foods rich in vitamin D and Paleo staples such as eggs, pork (eg, bacon), fish and mushrooms to combat the seasonal decline of vitamin D.
6. Do not go to bed early enough
A new study of modern hunter-gatherer tribes from around the world (the San from southern Africa, the tsimane in Bolivia and the Hadza in Tanzania) found that they sleep an average of 6-7 hours per night, less than 7.5- 8.5 hours Sleep experts generally consider the “sweet spot” for optimal rest and rejuvenation.
So, does this mean that you really do not need to sleep anymore?
Not quite. The answer changes according to the season. The researchers found that on the shortest and darkest days of winter, the tribes went to bed about an hour earlier than during the summer months.
Although they stayed awake a few hours after sunset, they were not exactly “owls”; his average bedtime was 9:15 pm in winter and 10:45 pm in summer. The hunter-gatherer tribes awoke at the same time throughout the year.
For many of us, the winter months leading up to the holiday season are often the busiest months at home and at work. This means later to sleep and less total sleep.
Most people struggle to go to bed before midnight (laptops, cell phones, and televisions do not help) and, generally, do not go to bed earlier in the colder, darker winter months.
The solution is to turn it off and go to bed earlier in the coldest, darkest months of winter to prevent illness and feel more energetic.
Research shows that sleeping less than 5 hours at night is 5 times more risk of catching a cold or flu, so make sure that, even during periods of increased activity, do not stay empty to avoid getting sick.
Do not let some unpleasant bugs hold you back. Stay in the game! The best way to fight colds and flu is to not get sick in the first place.
These six tips have been tested and proven to improve your endurance and keep your immune system strong this fall and winter.