Five Ways to Protect Yourself Against the Flu

| by Mitzi Dulan

November typically marks the beginning of that yearly-dreaded flu season
although this flu season started early. And this year we’re not only
fighting seasonal influenza, but are also faced with the seriousness of
the H1N1 pandemic. It’s time to make your health a priority. Don’t
wait to get sick before starting to get healthy. By following these 5
tips this season, you can build up your body’s defense system to help
avoid getting sick altogether!

1. Stay Healthy with Adequate Sleep

Numerous studies show that people who get less than 7 hours of sleep
a night have decreased immune systems, making them more susceptible to
the common cold. Inadequate sleep has also been linked to increased
cholesterol and blood pressure, and the development of chronic
diseases. Make sure your getting the right amount of Zzz’s, at least
7-8 hours a night, to ensure that you’re body’s defense system can be
extra alert to fight off those germs.

2. Power Up Your Immune System with Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for maintaining important body
functions and building muscular strength. Additionally, protein-packed
foods are full of other important vitamins and minerals, like B
vitamins (B6, B12), selenium and zinc, to help build our immune systems
even more! Great source of lean protein include (chicken, lean beef,
pork tenderloin), legumes, fish, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts etc.

3. Fight it with Your Fruits/Veggies

When it comes to getting the most nutrients, it’s always better to
go with the real thing than rely on vitamin supplements. That’s why
the fruits and veggies you consume have a major impact on your ability
to fend off the flu. Many contain vitamin C–which studies have
confirmed to effectively prevent against colds—along with vitamins E, A
and additional antioxidants found in these nutritional powerhouses.
Our fruit and vegetable intake tends to decrease during the winter
months, so make an extra effort to insure you’re getting a minimum of 5
servings of fruits and vegetables a day. You might also take a
multivitamin with mineral.

4. Wave Bye-Bye to Germs by Washing Your Hands

We come into contact with millions of germs every day, so it’s
important to properly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer throughout
the day. When washing, makes sure to rub your hands and wrists firmly
with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or as long as it
takes to sing the “A,B,C’s” to yourself.

5. De-Stress to Defend Against Germs

Why is it that we always seem to get sick at the worst times– a
looming deadline, a jam-packed planner, a big family get together,
etc? Well believe it or not, this is no coincidence, and the number
one culprit—STRESS. Studies shows that stress tends to wreak havoc on
our immune system’s ability to defend against germs which inevitably
leads to getting sick. Find your favorite ways to relax like yoga,
meditation, walks outside or a bubble bath to de-stress and defend
yourself against the flu.