(Twin A as a baby, sick in his grandma's arms)
We are all familiar with techniques such as:
1. Washing your hands often
2. Covering your mouth with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze
3. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
4. Using hand sanitizer
Now I would like to remind mothers that protecting our immune systems through healthy living is one of the most effective ways to fight the flu. As the person who prepares food for our families, we are in control of how healthy their immune systems are. Here are some healthy living tips that will boost the immune system function…
1. Water- Drinking enough water will help rid our bodies of waste and toxins, leaving our immune system with more energy to do what it was made to do…. ward off infection. It is recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, and more if we are physically active.
2. Vitamin C- Vitamin C not only increases the production of white blood cells, it increases HDL levels (good cholesterol) and decreases blood pressure. You can find Vitamin C in chili peppers, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, herbs such as thyme and parsley, kiwis, strawberries, and of course, oranges!
3. Vitamin E- Vitamin E enhances the production of b-cells, the antibodies that help fight against disease. It is also believed to help reverse the effects of aging on the immune system. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, vegetables and seeds.
4. Zinc- Zinc performs several functions, such as increasing the production of white blood cells, increasing production of cancer-killing cells, and helps white cell release more antibodies. Zinc can be found in grains and cereals, bean and nuts and vegetables like corn and peas.
5. Garlic- One of my favorite foods, this natural immune system booster also enhances white blood cell production and increases efficiency of antibody production. Garlic can be eaten raw, roasted and added to salads and sandwiches, or ground up with chick peas to make delicious hummus. There are very few foods I can think of that aren’t a little tastier with garlic added!
6. Sleep- While we are sleeping, our body produces powerful immune-enhancing substances and growth hormones that help protect against illness and repair cell damage. When we don’t get enough zzzz’s, our immune system sputters, making us vulnerable to flues and colds. Adults should get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers should get up to 10 or 11 hours.
I consider it an exciting challenge and privilege to see how well I can protect my family against sickness during flu season by adding as many healthy ingredients I can when planning our weekly menus. As they say, “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! What are your favorite ways to prevent illness at your house? I would really like to know.
Thanks for listening!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.