When it comes to supplements, minerals often play second fiddle to vitamins, which typically seize most of the limelight. Many people are aware of the importance getting enough calcium and magnesium in their diets. But two lesser known minerals – zinc and selenium – don’t often get the credit they deserve, especially when it comes to bolstering the immune system.
In the winter months, using essential oils can bring many benefits. Specifically, taking a deep, cleansing breath is one thing that’s easily supported with aromatherapy. Eucalyptus oil, always a front-runner when diffusing or vaporizing, is a wonderful choice to help ease the complaints of cold weather. Not to mention the pleasant, fresh aroma of eucalyptus can bring life into the stale air of a home that has been tightly closed for the preservation of warmth in the winter.
There’s nothing quite like homemade chicken soup. I used to buy the canned stuff often, especially during the winter months. But making your own is easy, and that way you know exactly what’s in it! My method involves pre-roasting the chicken, separating the meat, then simmering the bones for a few hours to make a rich, flavorful broth. Add vegetables and spices, stir in some gluten-free egg noodles, and you’ve got a hearty, comforting soup for those days when you’re feeling under the weather– or any time you’re craving a warm, filling meal.
Most environmentally conscious people are aware of the word “ecosystem,” in which every participating element plays a role in the system’s ability to flourish. The human body has one of those ecosystems, too, and it’s located in the gut.
The inhabitants of the human gastrointestinal tract are bacteria – loads of different varieties – and what they do and how many there are play a huge role in defining our health. When this bacterial eco-balance is disrupted – for reasons including taking medication, poor diet, antibiotics or aging – ingesting some “friendly” microorganisms may be beneficial.
As the temperatures cool, those pretty amber-and-gold leaves aren’t the only things whirling in the air. All of that sneezing and coughing is sending all kinds of germs airborne as well. And if you’ve got kids in school or daycare, you know how quickly the bug du jour spreads—and how long it can take for everyone in the family to feel good again!
Does it seem like everyone around you is suffering from the sniffles? Defend yourself from germs by following these six easy tips:
1. Hygiene: The best way to avoid getting sick is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands before eating or touching your face, and after using the restroom, handling raw meat, coughing/sneezing or touching shared surfaces around the office, gym or out in public. If soap isn’t available, use hand sanitizer.
2. Avoidance: If possible, it’s best to avoid or minimize your contact with shared surfaces that may be teeming with germs. These include door handles, railings, elevator buttons, paper money and water fountains. (Read more about fighting germs in the office.)
3. Nutrients: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are chock-full of immune-supporting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Foods that can be especially helpful include garlic, yogurt, leafy greens and citrus fruits.
4. Exercise: Regular workouts are a great way to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Be sure to avoid germs at the gym by washing your hands and wiping down machines before and after use.
5. Rest: Need an excuse to take a nap? Adequate rest, including 7-8 hours of sleep per night, can help your body recover from the stresses of the day. Naps and other relaxing activities (meditation, yoga, etc.) can also help your body recharge and support normal immune function.
6. Positive Thoughts: Don’t let stress or anxiety get you down – positive thinking not only helps you stay calm, studies have shown that a cheerful disposition can also promote overall health, by stimulating antibody response within the immune system!
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