“That time of year” is approaching. As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, we say goodbye to summer and look towards a new season: cold and flu season.
Scientists aren’t sure why the peak months for colds and flu are in the colder time of the year. Some researchers believe a shortage of Vitamin D due to less sun exposure weakens our immune systems. Or maybe it’s because we’re closer together indoors, rather than outside enjoying the warm weather.
Because we know we’ll have more exposure to cold and flu viruses, we can take steps now to build our immune systems and beat the viruses before they take hold. Here are a few ideas for staying healthy as the temperature drops.
Power Up with Produce
For overall health and especially to boost our immune systems, nothing works like fruits and vegetables. They’re full of antioxidants and micronutrients as well as vitamins that may specifically aid our immunity, such as Vitamin D. In one study, those who took Vitamin D lowered their risk of getting the flu by 42 percent.
We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun. Less than 20 minutes of exposure on arms and legs daily is plenty, but in winter, that may not be possible. Add fatty fish, fortified dairy, or eggs to your diet, or take a Vitamin D supplement when you can’t get a little sun.
Another immune booster is Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Munch on almonds, sunflower seeds, and leafy greens to get plenty of this immunity-enhancing vitamin.
Lower Stress to Fight Off Colds and Flu
White blood cells fight infection, rushing to the scene of attack to fight bad bacteria and viruses that can make us ill. But stress reduces the number of white blood cells in our bodies. Take a little time to ward off stress by getting plenty of exercise and sleep. Good news: Socializing with friends also lowers stress levels and helps immunity.
Sleep Your Immune System to Health
It’s hard on your body to do without adequate rest. While we’re asleep, our bodies are busy recharging our immune systems with proteins and antibodies. Lack of sleep means when a cold or flu virus appears, we’re less able to fight it off and more prone to end up with sniffles.
Walk Your Way to Wellness
The reason’s not well understood, but we know that those who exercise get fewer colds. In one study, elderly women who walked 5 days a week got half the colds of their stay-at-home counterparts. We know exercise pumps antibodies through the body faster, which may help the immune system work better.
Chiropractic Care Can Help You Prevent Colds
During the deadly flu epidemic of 1917-18, 50 million people died. But chiropractic patients fared better than others. The deadly flu virus killed 5 percent of flu sufferers that winter, but only .25 percent of those under chiropractic care.
Why? Chiropractic care can help boost our immune systems in several ways. After chiropractic manipulation, one study found, the number of white blood cells increased. Regular chiropractic care reduces the effects of stress, too. At King Chiropractic we can give you nutritional information that can boost your immunity during cold and flu season. And we can remove subluxations that interfere with the body’s functioning.
As colder weather approaches, help your body fight off colds and flu by boosting your immune system in these simple ways. And call King Chiropractic today at (910) 777-7228 to schedule an appointment to treat pain, relieve stress, and improve your immunity. You can beat that cold!