HELPFUL, HEATHFUL TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE WINTER COLDS AND FLU SEASON
By Beatrice Manning
Winter is a happy, joyous time filled with opportunities to share love and good will with family, friends and community. Unfortunately, we also end up sharing a lot of unwanted "gifts" as well. The bacteria and viruses that are a normal part of our internal and external environments tend to flourish under winterís unique circumstances. The cold weather tends to make us more sedentary and we consume more heavily those "comfort foods" that help us feel more calm and relaxed. These foods, that are generally high in carbohydrates, combined with the inactivity that is imposed by the inclement weather, create the ideal circumstances for colds and flu to breed. Here are a few tips that will help you and your families enjoy good health through out the holiday season.
Diet: Healthy eating habits are your first line of defense during the winter or during any health crisis. Cutting down the consumption of complex carbohydrates such as cakes, crackers, cookies, breads, etc. will allow your digestive tract an opportunity to rest from the difficult work of breaking down all those complex molecules and converting them to mucous-forming compounds that accumulate in the respiratory and digestive systems. These accumulations provide bacteria and viruses with the ideal conditions for growth and replication. Replace these with whole foods such as potatoes, which are high in potassium and iodine, brown or white rice, oats or other grains. Also, limiting your intake of dairy will increase your respiratory capacity and immune response, as these are mucous-forming foods, too.
Water: Hydration is key to maintaining healthy skin, hair and organs during the drying winter months. The human body is over 3/4ths water and much of that is lost in respiration, perspiration, and urination. We should be consuming water in the amount of Ĺ our body weight in ounces daily. Water quality is important, too. Spring water is best in that it provides a live source of hydration that hasnít been denatured by heat or chemicals.
Fruit and Veggies: Our bodies require that we consume at least 60 minerals a day, when the average diet provides only 10-12. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables provide an immediate, easily digested source of vitamins, minerals and much needed water.
Supplements: Dietary supplements can provide that extra punch when striving to maintain a healthy body or during a health crisis. Vitamins B and C are extremely important during any stressful situation, including the stress of the changing seasons. Replenishing these vitamins are important because the body canít manufacture them on itís own and these are utilized heavily for nerve function and immune response. Zinc and Calcium assist the circulatory system in delivering these vitamins to wherever they are needed in the body. Remember, everybodyís body is different! Everything doesnít work for every one! Nor should it! Supplements are meant to do just that; assist the diet in providing needed nutrition. They should not be relied upon as the primary source for any dietary component. Please consult your health professional before making arbitrary choices for supplementation based upon hearsay or current popularity.
Exercise: Move people! The complex arrangement of muscles, bones, nerves, organs and blood vessels that make up the human body is designed to be active. A healthy relationship between these systems is largely dependant upon how much positive stress we impose on ourselves. Walking is free and is one of the greatest fitness allies we have in improving cardiovascular function. Park a little further away from your destination daily and enjoy a short, brisk walk; yes, even in the cold! It helps the lungs to expel excess mucous and improves circulation.
Good health is not only our right, but it is our responsibility. Daily utilization of these tips should help us all get on and stay on the right track to experiencing good health during the winter months as well as the warm weather season ahead