(BPT) – With health top of mind during cold and flu season, it’s important to support your body’s immune system. Fortunately, a number of lifestyle habits can boost your overall health, at the same time helping your immune system function as effectively as possible.
Even if you do come down with a cold this year, you can shorten the cold and reduce the severity of symptoms by following these tips.
1. Lower your stress levels
According to the American Psychological Association, stress may weaken the immune response. To reduce your stress, try approaches like:
- Listening to soothing music
2. Prioritize quality sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep helps your body recover from the day and rest up for whatever’s next. The Mayo Clinic also reports that lack of sleep can contribute to overall poor health, which makes you more susceptible to illness. Their experts recommend adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health.
3. Feed your immune system
Your body’s immune system is complex, and needs a variety of nutrients to fuel it properly. Here are some nutrients recommended by the Cleveland Clinic that can help support your immune system, and how you can increase them in your diet:
- Zinc is found in lean meats and poultry, yogurt, baked beans and oysters.
- Folate/folic acid comes from beans and lentils, leafy green vegetables and avocado. You can get folic acid from enriched pasta, enriched bread and enriched rice.
- Iron can be consumed through red meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, beans, broccoli and kale.
- Selenium is available via meat and poultry, seafood and cottage cheese. Brazil nuts are also a top source.
- Vitamin C comes from eating citrus fruits, strawberries and papaya, plus spinach, kale, brussels sprouts and bell peppers.
- Vitamin E is in nuts and seeds like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts/peanut butter and sunflower seeds, plus sunflower, safflower and soybean oils.
- Vitamin A can be found in tuna as well as dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin and cantaloupe.
- Vitamin D is an important nutrient you can get just by spending time outside in the sunshine. Food sources include seafood and some fortified milk, orange juice and cereals.
4. Nip that cold in the bud
When you’re just starting to feel like a cold or flu may be coming on, you can help shorten your cold and lessen its effects by taking Zicam Rapid Melts right away. These homeopathic quick-dissolve tablets are made with zinc, and are designed to shorten colds when they’re taken at the first feeling of a cold starting up. The unique plant-based formula also provides multi-system cold relief. They are quick-dissolve tablets that you can take anywhere, on the go, without water.
“Be sure to remember to pick up fever and pain relief products as well as a cold shortener so you can get back on your feet quicker,” said Dr. Shirin Peters, M.D. “Zicam RapidMelts and Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Spray are great products, as they shorten colds versus just temporarily relieving symptoms.”
You can also try Zicam Nasal Swabs at the onset of a cold. This zinc-free homeopathic formula is delivered in a unique swab form to allow for gentle application of their patented gel formula in the nasal passages.
To learn more about this #1 pharmacist-recommended cold-shortening brand, visit Zicam.com.
5. Exercise your way to better health
Most doctors would agree that the benefits of regular physical activity are many, and can include reducing stress and helping you sleep better at night, which are important ways to help support your immune system. According to Harvard Health, regular exercise does so much to help boost your overall health that it has the added benefit of improving how well your immune system functions. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
Following these tips for strengthening your immune health can help you get through this cold and flu season feeling your best.