Did you know there are 200 viruses that can cause the common cold? No wonder it's so common. On average, American’s come down with three colds a year. No one likes to come down with a cold or the flu ever, but especially during the holidays when you’d rather be spending time celebrating and with family. So here are some tips from the latest Family Circle on how to stay healthy all winter long.
SWEAT IT OUT: People who exercise for at least 20 minutes five days a week suffer from half as many colds as those who get less. Researchers believe that exercise helps raise the number of immune cells in the body
HANDS OFF: Be conscious of how often you touch your face and try to stop doing it. Flu germs enter the body through the nose, mouth and eyes, so even a three-second eye rub could lead to a week of sniffling and coughing.
SWEETEND DOWN: A diet low in refined sugar strengthens the immune system and can potentially protect the body against cold and flu. Some doctors have observed that people who reduce sugar consumption have fewer infections and are generally healthier overall.
REST UP: Skimp on slumber and you’re three times more likely to catch a cold. Aim for at least seven hours a night.
CLEAN SWEEP: Antiseptic wipes are you friend. Clean seats, armrests or anything else when traveling by plane, train or bus.
**The single most important preventive measure you can take is to wash your hands, and often. Use only lukewarm water, though, because too hot of water causes dry skin that could crack and leave you susceptible to other infections.
And here are some handy cold and flu fighters that you can find in your kitchen!
Carrots: A diet rich in beta carotene (also found in bell peppers, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash) protects the lining of the nose, which traps germs before they can infect you.
Green Tea: Going green keeps you healthy. In a study at the University of Florida, people who consumed two cups of green tea daily for three months had 32% fewer colds than those who didn’t.
Nonfat Greek Yogurt: This has three times more protein (which helps increase the number of immune cells in your body) than regular yogurt. It’s also full of immune-boosting live and active cultures.
Salmon: Not only is salmon packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, one serving also contains up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D; a University of Colorado, study found that upping your intake of vitamin D staves off colds.
Garlic: A compound called allicin fights against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Plus, in a recent study, people who ate garlic regularly had 36% fewer colds over the course of a year than those who didn’t.
Here’s to a healthy holiday season!