Hardly ever getting sick is something I love bragging about. Why? Because being sick is an awful thing. Common cold symptoms such as coughing, headache and runny nose are annoying and makes you feel miserable. Some of the over-the-counter cold remedies can upset your stomach or even damage your liver. I always feel bad for anyone I come across who is sick but I don't fear being around them.
A big myth is that if you are around sick people, you will get sick. The truth is that if you are taking care of yourself, you will not get sick. You won't get the common cold, a head cold or a cough. This doesn't mean you won't ever get sick if you are taking care of yourself, but you will reduce your chances. The most important systems to take care of is your immune system and digestive system.
About 65% of the immune system is located in the digestive system. So a healthy gut is critical to avoid getting sick. The digestive system likes to have plenty of good bacteria in it to help fight pathogens. You can support the digestive system by taking a probiotic every day and eating a well-balanced diet. Organic food is the best food you can feed your digestive tract. Eating organic food helps you avoid ingesting chemicals that can be damaging to the body. The fewer chemicals that you avoid eating will help your body stay healthy.
Chemicals found in conventionally grown food disrupt our bodies ability to stay healthy. When chemicals are absorbed our body becomes confused on what to do with them. When the body is confused, it starts to work really hard to get rid of the chemical. The body becomes weak over time when it focuses on getting rid of chemicals all the time. When the body becomes weak, that is when illness gets the upper hand and you become sick.
So how can you support a healthy digestive system and immune system? Here are 5 ways:
#1 REGULAR EXERCISE
That's right! Moving your body will benefit both the digestive system and immune system. How? Exercise helps keep your digestive system healthy by helping you to avoid being constipated and promoting healthy digestion when you are at rest. Over time, exercise will help strengthen your digestive system which helps to keep everything moving. (Source: Manhattan Gastroenterology)
When you exercise, your body's temperature naturally rises. Heating up the body can help kill off any pathogen that may be floating around your body. Also, Medline Plus states that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, which will help you avoid the common cold and flu. Exercising can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes. But make sure to do it at least 5 days a week. If you haven't been exercising regularly, make sure to check with your doctor for any restrictions.
#2 TAKE VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS
While I would love to tell you that eating a healthy organic diet will give you all the nutrients you need to stay healthy, it just isn't possible. Our bodies need high doses of nutrients to stay healthy. For example, Vitamin C has been studied for its role in helping to avoid the common cold as well as treatment for reducing the number of days a person is sick with the common cold. While results can be mixed, a review of the studies showed that taking Vitamin C reduced the number of colds in half in people who are physically active.
There are foods such as oranges, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. But even though they are high in Vitamin C, it isn't high enough to support the immune system. The studies I mentioned earlier used anywhere from 3,000 - 8,000 milligrams. That is a lot of Vitamin C! A single orange contains 51 milligrams of Vitamin C. That means you would have to eat 58 oranges just to get 3,000 milligrams in one day! Impossible!
To help avoid the common cold, take at least 1,000 milligrams a day. This can be in a tablet form or by drinking Emergen-C. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin so you can't overdose on it. Large amounts can both some people's stomach. If this is you, simply take a smaller dose several times a day.
Another key supplement to take daily is a probiotic. As I mentioned earlier, a probiotic will help keep good bacteria in the digestive system, which will support a healthy immune system. Look for a product that contains both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These are the most prevalent types of good bacteria in our bodies. A daily dose of 3-10 Billion bacteria will help you stay healthy.
#3 GET PLENTY OF REST
Sleep is so important. I know it seems like we have to keep going all the time but without proper rest, the body cannot repair itself. Sleep allows the body to slowly repair itself. Think about it - our bodies never get a chance for downtime. They are always working. But when we sleep, the body gets a chance to slowly work through any damage that is occurring.
If we don't sleep an adequate amount, our bodies get tired which will make us more susceptible to getting sick. Getting at least 7 hours is necessary. You may not be able to get 7 hours every night due to work, family and other demands on your time. If this is the case, take one day to sleep and not set the alarm clock. Tell your family that you need this time to be healthy for them. Sleep as long as you need to which will help the body get time to repair itself.
#4 DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUIDS
Most of us are dehydrated. We drink liquids that are dehydrating, such as soda or coffee, and not enough water. Some people don't even like the taste of water. It is too bland they say. But being hydrated helps the body fight infection. How? Water helps the mucous membrane in the nose stay flexible to keep things out of our bodies such as dust, dirt and bacteria. When the nose stops these irritants, it helps keep them from getting to the lungs. When we are dehydrated, our nose becomes dry and can't work as effectively to keep irritants out of the lungs. Sickness occurs. (Source: Daily Mail UK).
So what should you drink if you don't like the taste of water? Try flavored herbal tea, hot or cold, that you make yourself. The problem with herbal teas that are already prepared is the sugar content. Too much sugar is an issue for most of us which causes weight gain and may lead to diabetes. But sugar will be a different blog post! Water also tastes great when you let cucumber or fruit or both infuse into water overnight.
Make sure to choose clean filtered bottled water to drink. The quality of water is just as important as the quantity. Simply filtering the water from the sink or through the refrigerator will not clean it enough from the chemicals that are allowed to be in our water systems. Drink at least half your weight in ounces everyday. So if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 ounces per day.
#5 EAT ORGANIC, MOSTLY PLANTS
Reducing the amount of meat you eat will help boost your immune system, benefits your digestive system and will make you feel great. Food that is grown with chemicals is not really food. It has been modified in some way for mass production. The chemicals we eat can't be processed by our bodies which reduces the effectiveness of both the immune and digestive systems. This leads to illness and making us more susceptible to catching colds.
Organic foods are higher in nutrients so you will eat less when you go organic. Also, organic food is becoming more accessible. Major brands and grocery stores see how people are voting with their wallets for healthier foods. You no longer have to go to a health food store to shop. Local grocery stores are selling more organic options. Avoiding chemicals by eating organic foods helps the immune system and digestive system stay healthy. This means you can avoid colds and hardly ever get sick, just like me!
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