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“How to Optimize your Health before Flu Season”

By: Leah R., Lead Lifestyle Consultant, St. Cloud Livea

With the winter season upon us and with more people coming down with colds and different viruses, we need to start prepping our immune health for the upcoming flu seasons. Taking some steps now can help our body prepare for what may come this year. Our immune system is quite complicated and has a lot of processes. For your immune system to run at its best it does require a well-balanced system. There is not any one proven method to strengthen our immune system but by practicing an overall healthy lifestyle can help ensure that you are running at your optimal. Here are some basic guidelines to follow to help with practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Nutritional Support

Diet can have a great impact on our health. It is important to strive for a healthy body weight to reduce health problems and keep chronic inflammation low. Following your Livea program will help with weight management and supply your body with lots of nutrients. A couple of ways you can help with weight management is choosing carbohydrates with higher fiber and protein along with cutting back on foods with higher saturated fats and hydrogenated oils.

Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics can be helpful in improving gut health and reducing damaging free radicals in the body. Look for fiber rich foods containing inulin fiber. Antioxidants help remove oxidative stress in the body which can weaken our immune system. Some foods that are high in antioxidants are berries, carrots and spinach. Try to get as many nutrients from your foods as possible. Read Livea’s blog on How to Eat Bright for information on the benefits of eating a variety of colors of food!

Along with a proper diet, drinking water is very important for your body to function properly. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 64oz. of water per day, if you are able to drink more, that is even better! Limiting alcohol and caffeine will also ensure you are properly hydrated as they can act as a diuretic.

Supplementation

If you don’t have access to a variety of fruits and vegetables, supplementation may be beneficial to increase your vitamin and mineral intake. A multivitamin may be a great place to start and you can get one through Livea! According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, combining vitamin C and Zinc together may relieve symptoms faster if you do become ill. Try to get vitamin C from whole foods and not sugary drinks like orange juice. Great sources of vitamin C are broccoli, bell peppers, kiwi, and oranges. Great sources of zinc are oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, and nuts.

Another great vitamin to make sure you are not deficient in is vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important for immune health. Try to get outside and get some sunshine when possible. For all us living in cold states, where we do not get outside, it is probably best to supplement. Read more about vitamin D here, Livea even conveniently has it on our product list! Talk to your doctor about the right dosage for you.

Quality Sleep

While we sleep our brain is working overtime. It is signaling to the rest of the body to carry out many processes that are needed to build and repair our cells and to fight off disease. It is important to get adequate and good quality sleep. The Mayo clinic recommends at least 7 or more hours of good quality sleep each night. If you are having trouble getting good quality sleep talk to your Livea consultant for suggestions to improve your sleep.

Manage Stress

Stress can have a huge negative impact on our health. It’s important to find stress management techniques that work for you to lower stress levels and cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol can contribute to higher blood pressure, less sleep and inability to fight off infections. Exercise, meditation, and breathing techniques can lower stress. Take time each day to find things you love to do. Even practicing a positive attitude can help lower stress levels. If you need further assistance, please talk to your Livea or view this great webinar on Sleep and Stress!

Regular Exercise

Exercise is very important for our health as it can help control our body weight, build muscle, strengthen our bones and improve our blood circulation and cardiovascular system. By lowering our stress levels, we can improve our quality of sleep. If you are not currently exercising, start by setting small goals each week and be consistent. You can then increase your time and intensity when you are ready to do so. Find workouts that you enjoy as that will help you to be more consistent. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at Livea’s Get Up and Move monthly schedule!

Practice Good Hygiene

When trying to prevent different viruses and bacteria from getting us sick, it is important to make sure we practice good hygiene. A couple of ways to help protect us from viruses and bacteria are by showering daily and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds each time they get soiled and before you eat. Keeping your home clean can also improve your health. Make sure to keep things allergen free and watch for mold and mildew as these can trigger our immune response. Most importantly, when you are sick please stay home and rest! The best way to keep everyone healthy is by not spreading the viruses to others.

Practicing these 5 strategies may not prevent you from getting sick, but hopefully can help with lowering the severity of the illness. Practicing a healthy lifestyle will help your body’s system stay in harmony and help your immune system fight off invaders. If you are looking for more information regarding immune health, check out the references listed below and stay healthy and safe my friends!

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/strengthen-your-immune-system-with-simple-strategies/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuaxhyRGN88

https://sph.umich.edu/pursuit/2020posts/why-sleep-is-so-important-to-your-health.html#:~:text=Contrary%20to%20our%20quiet%20physical,metabolism%20and%20chronic%20disease%20risk.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22429343/#:~:text=In%20view%20of%20the%20burden,against%20this%20infectious%20viral%20disease.