This past year we have witnessed one of the worst cold and flu seasons, coupled with increased rates of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and 2022 ended with an ‘epic’ winter storm, but being accustomed to the unpredictability of Canadian Winters, we know that the worst is not behind us.
The best way to avoid getting sick is to always strengthen your immune system and practice preventive care to stay healthy. Below are some tips we put together to help you keep your immune systems armed and ready- but first- let’s talk about the difference between the common cold and the flu (Influenza).
Cold: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, scratchy or sore throat, cough, low-grade fever, headache, fatigue and usually lasts for 5 to 7 days.
Flu: body aches, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and can lead to greater complications such as pneumonia in children and the elderly, while high fever can affect the developing embryo in pregnant women.
#1 Eat Nutritious Foods
One of the best ways to give your body the nutrients it needs is by eating a variety of nourishing foods that are high on vitamins A, C and E. Next time you’re at the grocery store try to pick the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables for example: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, kiwis, tomatoes are high on Vitamin C. Red vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers are high on Vitamin A and nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts and their butters and oils are high on Vitamin E. Adding these to your diet will provide the nutrients and phytochemicals you need to keep your immune system strong.
#2 Skip out on Sugar & Processed Foods
Avoid or limit sugar and processed foods- such as candy, chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, sweet pastries, and certain cereals. Consuming a diet high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup drives inflammation that can lead to disease and this dampens the immune system, leaving it at risk for infection.
#3 Get Good Quality Sleep
Ensure you get adequate rest-lack of adequate or good quality sleep. It’s amazing how getting plenty of your ZZZ’s can help lower your levels of inflammation and decrease susceptibility. Individuals who sleep the least are substantially more likely to develop a cold.