With yet another Polar Vortex bearing down on us and the flu showing up in more and more communities, staying healthy is definitely on the forefront of many people’s minds right now. Getting sick means not only the discomfort of the illness’s symptoms, but missed work or school, childcare issues, and sometimes a somewhat minor illness can progress into a more serious condition. There are a number of doctor recommended steps you can take to build up your immune system to try and fight off any of the nasty bugs circulating around. (Thanks to #CollectiveBias for allowing me to share these tips including a #NaturalProbiotic.)
Wash your hands often. While this seems like something that should go without saying, based on what goes on in many of the public restrooms I’ve been in, it apparently DOES need to be said. (I know my kiddo in particular needs frequent reminders – especially before snacks or when he first comes home from school.) Doctors agree that warm water and soap are still the best way to combat illness. Hand sanitizer is great for when you are in a pinch, but should not replace good old fashioned hand washing!
Get plenty of sleep. I know that I am often guilty of not taking my own advice on this one – there’s always so much to do! I do notice that most of the time when I come down with a cold or other bug, it is when I am already run down and definitely not getting enough sleep. I am trying really hard this year to make sure that I am in bed at a decent hour and getting the most restful sleep possible.
Eat a balanced diet. I’m convinced that part of the reason why I almost always get sick right after the holidays is a combination of that last tip and this one. I definitely feel better when I am making sure that I am not loading up on sweets and am getting lots of natural vitamins through fruits and vegetables. I also supplement with a vitamin D capsule as I tested deficient and I have noticed improved immunity since I started taking it. Heaven knows I’m not getting any vitamin D from the sun right right now – the few times I am outside, I barely have any skin showing lest it freeze!
Relax. Stress can compromise your immune system and make you more likely to catch whatever is making the rounds. Seriously – I’m not kidding! One study found that people who has just experienced a major stressful event were twice as likely to come down with the common cold. I’m sure you can think of some anecdotal examples of this as well. Maybe that has something to do with my post holiday illnesses as well….hmmmm.
Keep your gut healthy. I’m a HUGE believer in the power of probiotics not just in digestive health, but in immunity as well. I started investigating probiotics after LJ had some health issues following a long period on antibiotics. He was experiencing not only digestive issues, but heartburn as well. When the doctor wanted him to start taking an antacid at age four, I looked for another solution.
My research led me to begin taking probiotics along with LJ and I’ve been thrilled with the results for both of us. While foods like yogurt and kefir are great sources of these healthy bugs, I like to take a supplement myself as I know that not all probiotics can survive the acidic trip through my stomach. Right now, I am using insync™ Probiotic which contains GI Guard™, a gradual release caplet that protects those helpful probiotics from heat, moisture and stomach acids. I also love that insync™ Probiotic contains six strains of probiotics to provide the maximum benefit, including the gastroenterologist-recommended B. infantis strain. Since I am on the go a lot, I love the fact that it does not have to be refrigerated.
I was able to find insync™ at my local Hy-Vee Grocery store. (Quick tip – I was searching for it in the vitamin aisle with no luck when one of their friendly employees directed me over to the digestive health aisle and there it was!) You can find more information by connecting with them via their Facebook page or on Twitter.
What are your tips for staying healthy during this extremely long winter??