Can’t shake that wheezing cough or a bad case of the sniffles?
There’s a reason you’re chronically sick during flu season — COVID-19, RSV, 100-day cough, the common cold, oh my! — and, better yet, something you can do about it.
For those not wanting to stick to a diet of cough drops and syrups the whole winter, experts recommend introducing simple, immunity-boosting habits into their routines.
“For some people, getting ill again after having just recovered happens regularly, which in turn can impact their quality of life and mental wellbeing,” pharmacist Navin Khosla told Metro.
“The main contributing factor in those instances is a weakened immune system.”
To strengthen the immune system, Khosla advises the holy trinity: improving diet, exercising more and managing stress.
Vitamin C is touted as an immunity cure-all, and should be diligently consumed during peak flu season, Khosla said. In turn, avoid consuming too many ultra-processed treats that contain a laundry list of unpronounceable ingredients.
“It’s okay to have a treat every now and again, but the basis of your diet should be filled with natural ingredients, such as vegetables, fruit, pulses, grains and nuts,” he said.
“Opt for those high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, and protein, which can be found in meats and dairy products.”
Exercise has also been linked to a healthier immune system, and could offer benefits even in small daily doses of five minutes.
Past research has shown that working out for only 20 minutes or so per day can offset the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, while one study suggested that short, seconds-long bursts of exercise throughout the day can be beneficial.
“Blood flow and happy hormones are important both for physical and mental health,” Khosla said, emphasizing that exercise shouldn’t “be a chore.”
“Find something you enjoy doing, be it dancing, walking your dog, ice skating or just a regular gym workout.”
Stress, past research has shown, affects the whole body — and that includes the immune system.
“The important thing here is to be aware of what causes you to feel stressed and find ways to manage it,” Khosla said.
“This can be done by doing meditation and learning more about mindfulness, taking breaks, engaging in enjoyable activities, being with loved ones and much more.”