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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Five Key Strategies for Staying Healthy this Winter


(From Shaklee Health Sciences)

Americans get more than one billion colds a year. So why is it that we have smartphones but still no cure for colds and flu? It's because we're dealing with smart viruses. Any one of hundreds of viruses could launch a cold or flu attack, and chances are that this year's flu virus won't be the same as last year's. That's because viruses have the uncanny ability to constantly morph into new variations, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple cure.

Having said that, there's still much you can do to stay strong and healthy all winter. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to protect yourself and give these prevention strategies a try:
Wash Your Hands: Washing hands remains the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from colds and flu. Lather, rinse, repeat throughout the day. Do it long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

Get Enough Sleep: Sleep may be your immune system’s secret weapon, according to recent scientific research. Less than seven hours of sleep a night made people three times more likely to catch a cold than those who got eight or more hours of zzzs.

Exercise: While very vigorous physical activity (like running a marathon) can put a damper on your immune system, most scientists agree that moderate physical activity actually helps boost the immune cells that fight off invaders.

Fuel Yourself with Good Nutrition: An orange a day (along with strawberries, bell peppers, potatoes, and other vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables) can help keep the doctor away. Lean meat, fish, and other protein sources also provide the amino acids needed to help maintain your immune system. Don’t forget to fill in nutritional gaps with immune supporting nutrients like zinc and vitamins D, A, C and E. Harvard scientists even suggest vitamin D supplements may help reduce the occurrences of colds. The scientists found low vitamin D levels in nearly 20,000 Americans increased their cold and flu risk.

Power up with Plant Extracts: Scientific research has led to the discovery of a combination of plant extracts that naturally boost the body’s own production of interferon, a component of the immune system that helps fight off viruses. Other plant compounds found in elderberry and echinacea extracts can help, too. Take these when you feel the first sign of something coming on, and continue taking them for about a week as needed.

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