Cold and flu season is here. What are you doing to protect yourself from colds and the flu?

First, you need to know that your body is the primary defence force against colds and the flu. So you need to ask—how can you strengthen your body and build your resiliency so that colds and the flu don’t make a home in your body?

Here are my top tips for 5 easy and natural ways to stop a cold or flu before it wears you down.

1. Limit Processed Foods

All processed foods are hard for your body to break down. It takes a lot more energy for your digestive system to break down a bag of potato chips than a fresh apple. If your body is pouring its energy into digestion, it won’t have the resources to fight against the common cold and flu since it is so busy breaking down heavy, processed foods. When you limit the amount of processed foods in your diet, you help strengthen your body so it can fight the virus coming its way

2. Avoid Dairy

When you feel a cold coming on, you want to avoid dairy since dairy has been linked to a weakened immune response and increases mucous. You may have already felt this symptom in the past. I’m not saying avoid dairy all the time. A lot of people do really well consuming a moderate amount of low-fat dairy in their diet, and that is fine. What I am saying is that when you feel the sniffles coming—that is the time to avoid dairy to help fight off the imminent cold.

3. Actively Manage Stress

There is a whole field of science that studies the link between your immune system and your psychology. It’s called psycho-neuro-immunology. Basically, when stress increases, your immune system weakens. The idea is, if your body is spending its resources and energy on tackling stress, it won’t be as resilient and able to fight off the common cold. Stress is inevitable and sneaky—we often don’t know when it’s going to hit us. Thus, the notion that we can control stress is not completely accurate. However, we can manage stress when it inevitably hits. Instead of allowing stress to control you, the alternative strategy is to actively manage the stress when it comes. How? The way to help your body manage stress is through exercise, meditation, and deep breathing. These are all simple techniques that have many benefits. Foremost they help reduce stress and strengthen your body’s resiliency so that you can fight the cold away.

4. Consume More Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is a great way to strengthen your immune system. It’s best to receive your vitamins from food. Eating fresh foods such as oranges, other citrus fruits and strawberries, and adding lemon and lime to your water, are all great sources of vitamin C. And if I am feeling a cold coming on, I go ahead and take some added vitamin C and find it works really well. However, it is best to get your vitamins and nutrients directly from the food you consume and not to solely rely on a bottled source!

5. Increase Your Greens

Deep-dark-green veggies are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. By eating nutrient-dense foods you are adding energy to your body so that it is stronger and ready to tackle any foreign invaders (e.g. the common cold) that try to come its way. Through consuming more greens in your diet you ensure that your body is strong and resilient against the common cold.

I have a simple and quick green smoothie recipe that is perfect for busy people on the go. It’s an easy way to ensure you consume more greens in your day.

Tova’s Simple Green Smoothie Recipe:
• 1 banana
• Handful of spinach (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
• 3 cups water
• Cinnamon (optional)
Blend!

This easy and simple recipe makes two servings. It’s a great way to start the day, and it’s great for a post-workout session. By getting extra greens in your diet, you help strengthen your inner task force to fight off the common cold

Those are my top tips to keep the common cold and the flu away. And if you find yourself amidst a cold, these five tips will help vanquish that cold faster.

You may be interested in this too: Cold Season Immunity Booster: Elderberry

Featured photo credit: boy wipes his nose with a tissue via Shutterstock

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