Many of us think that with the first signs of Sun and warmer weather the days of colds and flu are over, however, we think wrong.
Although those people whose immunity system needs less time to adapt to a new season, and is stronger in general, do not need to worry much about spring colds and flu, for the rest, spring is a mini-flu season, and if we are not careful enough, or dressed for the weather, we may end up staying in bed for a few days with high fever, sore throat, and cough, missing all the fun outside.
What can we do to enchase our immune system and protect ourselves from spring colds and flu? Luckily, we can do it with food, sleep, and exercising.
Feed Your Body With Seasonal food!
We are all advised to eat seasonal food, and it is a good thing that spring comes in with so many amazing foods we can enjoy, and in turn, strengthen our immune system.
For instance, radishes are the perfect food to eat in spring, especially because they are packed with folic acid and potassium. One cup of sliced radishes will give you enough vitamin C (30% of vitamin C, but less than 25 calories). Pick those that are deep in color, and with solid roots, and have a great addition to soups, and cooked dishes (you can eat the green tops also).
We also have grapefruits, dandelion leaves, cherries, seeds and beans. Grapefruits are necessary for vitamin C as well, and you should eat them because you need to detoxify your body after the winter. Lemons are the best from winter to early summer, and kiwis are also available in spring in warmer climates.
Artichokes, asparagus, Bok Choy, broccoli, green onions, fava beans, pea greens and peas, and nettle, are great in the spring, and these foods should be included in your grocery shopping list. Artichokes for instance, are great due to the rich amount of fiber you need for good digestion.
With artichokes you will also energize your organism with iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.
Asparagus is low in fat, high in fiber, and a great source of vitamins B and C.
Fava beans are great for keeping you full for longer, while pea greens and peas are a great source of plant protein, and they provide a good amount of vitamin B and zinc.
Do not forget beets, although available for much of the year, in spring they are the most delicious. There are also mushrooms, especially good when it comes to germ defense due to the antiviral and antibacterial properties, and vitamin D.
Finally, one of the best ways to protect your organism from germs is to eat garlic. This herb has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, and with natural antibiotics that support the immune system, garlic is a necessary ingredient in the kitchen. Keep in mind that garlic has active ingredient Alicin, which kills bacteria, viruses and fungus, and that store-bought tablets are useless.
If you do not want to consume raw garlic, Alicin caps are also a good option.
As you can see, to fight the spring colds and flu you need food rich in essential vitamins (vitamin C for white blood cells, vitamins B for stress relief, vitamin E for antibody production, and vitamin D for immunity in general).
As for the minerals, you need Zinc, Selenium, and Magnesium, though any of the essential minerals you consume are great for protection.
Green smoothies are also excellent for spring colds and flu, especially when you notice the first symptoms. In case you do not have a recipe for a green smoothie, this is what you need:
2 garlic cloves
1/4-inch slice of ginger
Handful of parsley, and
1 cup of Jerusalem artichokes (optional)
This smoothie is rich in carotenes, and it’s a powerful booster for the immune system due to the garlic and ginger immune-enhancing properties. If you need more recipes, see the list of the best smoothies you can easily make.
Relax Your Body And Mind With Sleep And Exercise!
It is very important to get enough sleep (seven to eight hours) to adapt your body and organism to the new season, however, it is also very important to wake up early, to get the most benefits from the Sun. This way your body will adjust more easily, and with proper nutrition, you will feel better and have more energy. If you sleep less that eight hours, you will double your chances to get a viral or bacterial infection when you are exposed to it.
As for the exercising, spring is the perfect season for you to start with your workout routine. Even with cold symptoms you can still opt for a gentle exercise, because the simple act of sweating can help you expel harmful germs from your body, or you can try yoga or meditation, for instance. However, if you have a fever, it is better to stay in bed.
What Else Should You Know?
Keeping your body hydrated is very important. You need to drink at least six to eight glasses of water during a cold and flu season. Water helps your body with digestion and flushes the system.
You need to be prepared once you hear the cold and flu season have started. Hot soups and drinks can do wonders for your body and organism, and a stuffy nose.
Natural remedies are excellent for keeping you protected from bacterial infections. Preparing tea and other refreshing drinks with natural remedies such as Echinacea is a good way to keep your body strong and immune. Echinacea is an effective remedy for viruses, bacteria and fungi, and it is a great alternative to chemical antibiotics.
Massage therapy is also very helpful in many ways, and when it comes to colds and flu, stimulating lymphatic circulation will help eliminate toxins and wastes through the liver and kidneys.
Finally, you need to eliminate stress, if possible. Stress is one of the main problems we face every day, and it can trigger many health conditions. With just a few hours of sleep, bad nutrition and stress, one can get a cold or flu easily. Stress affects our hormones and our immune system, so, find your way to either eliminate stress or to decrease the stress exposure. Try meditation or other alternative medicine therapies and treatments.
Image credits: 123RF Stock Photo