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smile facesWell, just about everyone across the country is limp and wilted from the excessive heat we've been having, and Halloween marks the beginning of the stressful year end holiday crush. It's no wonder so many people begin to feel truly flattened and wrung out this time of year. This situation is the precursor to the flu season, with colds and sinus infections beginning to raise their ugly heads as well. If you're like me though, you have one of those iron-plated immune systems which seem to rarely let any of the nasty stuff get through. However, if you're like most people, some time within the next 90 days a little unseen bug is going to make a serious mess out of you.

There are, however, several defense strategies you can employ which will help raise your body's defenses prior to any of the attacks from these annual health marauders. Please follow with me as I outline a seasonal battle strategy of health for you. These are low cost and no cost ways that you can easily take better care of yourself and make your body a little less likely to suffer the ravages of colds and the flu.

  1. Drink lots of water. The more water you can drink, the better your body likes it. Unless you have some kind of obscure water intake restriction that I've never heard of, drink more water than you think you need. Yes, you'll pee a lot more, and that's the idea. Simply put, water, and lots of it, is essential to the proper operation of your entire human system. Specifically, the liver and kidneys need ample supplies of water to accomplish their body and blood cleansing functions. If you don't drink enough water, your urine becomes more concentrated and your body retains rather than flushes out foreign substances. If you maintain optimum hydration of your bodily systems, the nasty stuff that gets into you gets flushed out that much faster.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet. The schools of thought on dietary health are so vast and varied that I don't make claim to know the perfect dietary strategy. However, what I do know is that a balanced variety of foods provides a greater cross-section of nutrients than a diet with specific focus on any one food group. I believe that the food pyramid is a reasonable guideline to use if it places easily digestible, high nutrient food groups higher on the quantity list, and relegates the more difficult to digest food items to smaller portions. The one fact that I won't compromise on is the truth that the closer you can get to your food's original form, the better it is for you. Highly processed foods just aren't as good for maintaining health as foods in their more natural state. Fresh foods are best because they are more readily utilized by your body. Processed foods often contain chemicals which are used for ease of manufacturing or to enhance shelf life. These added chemicals often put noticeable stress on your digestive system and are foreign to your body. I use for example hydrogenated oils... I rest my case.
  3. Believe in vitamin C. As strange as it may seem, some people still scoff at the notion that vitamin C is helpful to your body in the fight against illness and disease. An online article from from Jane Higdon, Ph.D., for Linus Pauling Institute gives more than ample descriptions of the many positive health benefits which are believed to be associated with adequate vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is easy to get and it's a water soluble vitamin, so the body flushes out any excess you may ingest. If you make an effort to keep yourself sufficiently supplied with vitamin C, you'll be adding great strength to your arsenal of disease fighting weapons.
  4. Get ample rest. This is one of the biggest health boosters you'll ever find, yet it's the one that most people fall short on. It's alright to compromise on sleep hours once in a while but if you want to remain within the upper tier of your potential, you need to provide the down time that your body demands. Look at it this way: If you short yourself two hours of sleep every night for a month, you will have gained about 60 hours of awake time. However, if those 60 hours of lost sleep cause you to become even mildly ill, you may suffer reduced productivity, or even incapacity, for anywhere from three days to three weeks. When you compromise on the amount of sleep that you know your individual body requires, you're going to trade something for that missed sleep. You must decide what that sleep trade-off is worth to you, and then rest accordingly.
  5. Don't be a "germophobe." Our bodies process such a large volume of toxins and foreign substances every day that most people would be surprised to know what an effective illness fighter they already are. Don't live in fear of germs. Yes, do be conscious about keeping your surroundings clean, and, of course, wash your hands regularly, but don't fear the germs because as truth has it, you're surrounded by them constantly. It doesn't take much thinking to realize that by having your immune system continually dealing with a bit of this germ and a touch of that virus, it remains active and tuned, ready to immediately deal with a serious breech of your bodily defenses. It has been proven beyond question that people who remain in essentially sterile environments for extended periods nearly always become dangerously ill when re-entering the human commons environment because their immune systems have become complacent in the absence of challenge.
  6. Maintain a positive attitude. No one can successfully challenge the truth that the healthier your thinking is, the healthier your body will be. It's a well known fact. Every cell in your body can and will react to the messages that your brain delivers. I have personally witnessed the great healing power of positive thought, prayer, and meditation. Conversely, I have also watched people slowly destroy their own health and well-being by continually feeding unhealthy energy through their bodily systems via their own negative mindset. Every one of us must face the challenges of daily living, and sometimes life gets down right ugly. It's up to you how you'll face those difficulties, and how you'll mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable rough times. Whatever your belief system is, be it faith-based, fate-based, or humanistic, if you take the route of first believing that you can be healthy, and use that as your launching point, your body will undeniably react in response to your belief.
Read more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle by visiting our friends at That's Fit.

  • peter

    I would have to strongly disagree with #5. I'm not saying you should live in an isolation chamber, but if a friend or coworker is clearly ill, stay away from them. Colds are passed by human interaction, that's why you get more of them in the winter. It's not from being cold, it's from everyone being inside together.
    So hanging around with someone who is obviously sick is probably the best way to get sick yourself.

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