Tuesday, November 13, 2012

5 Key Strategies for Staying Healthy this Winter

Americans get more than one billion colds a year. And we still haven’t found one solid medicine for it.

Viruses are smart. Any one of hundreds of viruses could launch a cold or flu attack. And chances are that this year's flu virus won't be the same as last year's. That's because viruses have the uncanny ability to constantly morph into new variations, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple cure.

But medication isn’t always the best answer anyway. There's still a lot you can do to stay strong and healthy this winter. Here are 5 strategies to staying well.

  1. Wash Your Hands: Washing hands remains the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from colds and flu. Lather, rinse, repeat throughout the day. Can’t get to a sink? Use antibacterial hand sanitizer.
  2. Get Enough Sleep: According to recent scientific research, less than 7 hours of sleep a night made people three times more likely to catch a cold than those who got 8 or more hours of zzzs. Skip Letterman and get to bed.
  3. Exercise: While high intensity/metabolic physical activity can put a damper on your immune system, most scientists agree that moderate physical activity actually helps boost the immune cells that fight off invaders. A good rule of thumb is if you’re sick above the neck, workout. If you’re sick below the neck, take a day of rest. 
  4. Fuel Yourself with Good Nutrition: An orange a day (along with strawberries, bell peppers, potatoes, and other vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables) can help keep the doctor away. Lean meat, fish, and other protein sources also provide the amino acids needed to help maintain your immune system. Don’t forget to fill in nutritional gaps with immune supporting nutrients like zinc and vitamins D, A, C and E. Harvard scientists even suggest vitamin D supplements may help reduce the occurrences of colds. The scientists found low vitamin D levels in nearly 20,000 Americans increased their cold and flu risk.
  5. Power up with Plant Extracts: Scientific research has led to the discovery of a combination of plant extracts that naturally boost the body’s own production of interferon, a component of the immune system that helps fight off viruses. Other plant compounds found in elderberry and echinacea extracts can help, too. 

A common mistake is to start taking these once you're sick. Think preventatively. At the first sign of a tickle or a sniffle, start taking these and continue taking them for about a week as needed.

On a personal note, my wife Joella use to get sick ALL the time. And it was never just a head cold. It might start there but get much worse. She was sick once for 6 solid weeks! Once I started her on Nutriferon she stopped getting sick. Completely.

If you get sick often - 2 or more times a year - give this a try. It works.

And then don't forget the first four!

To your Winter health,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together