Five Key Strategies for Staying Healthy this Winter
||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.
Courtesy of Shaklee: Get Your RX for a Healthier Life
Not sure what vitamins & supplements are best for you? Contact Stephanie here for a free consult.
This is a wonderful article (from CinchWellness) on Preventing Childhood Obesity – It is A Family Affair:
To maintain a healthy weight throughout life, we need to learn healthful habits early on. That’s because it’s during our childhood years when we develop the routines that follow us into our adult years. In other words, the inactive, overweight child of today is likely to become the inactive, overweight adult of tomorrow. That is unless parents take action now and make their children’s health a family affair. Remember, children can’t necessarily change their exercise and eating habits alone. They need the help of supportive parents and caregivers. So try creating new family habits around healthy eating and increased physical activity. Start small-you don’t have to make many changes at once. No matter how young or old we are, small gradual changes are easiest to follow and incorporate into our lives. It definitely takes time to unlearn unhealthy behaviors and develop new, healthier ones. Here are some suggestions on ways to create a healthy weight environment for the entire family:
Creating a Healthy Environment for Eating
- Make the creation of meals a family affair. Even young children can participate in simple meal preparation (i.e., washing fresh vegetables, stirring the soup, and setting the table).
- Sit down and eat as a family together at least one meal a day. Share your day so that the meal lasts 30 minutes or more.
- Don’t be too restrictive. Studies show that preschoolers with parents who are most restrictive with treats are the ones that ate the most sweets and snacks when given the opportunity. Teach moderation and balance.
- Limit the frequency of fast-food meals to no more than once a week. (Not at all would be ideal).
- Have healthy foods available for children to select from. Fresh fruit, vegetables like baby carrots, and low-fat yogurt are great examples.
- Don’t use food or a lack of food for rewards and or punishments. For example, don’t make threats like “no dessert unless you clean up your room”.
- Don’t force your child to eat if he or she is not hungry. However, if your child shows consistent signs of not eating, or obsession with their body image, consult a healthcare professional.
Creating an Active Environment
- Limit TV time. Research indicates a direct relationship between the hours of TV watched and childhood obesity. Not only is it a low-calorie-burning activity, but what children see on TV (ads for fast food, sugar coated cereal and other unhealthy food choices) influences what they eat and drink-even children as young as 2 years old. Encourage other activities besides TV, computers, and video games.
- Make time each week for a family outing that involves physical activity, such as a walk to the library or playing at the park.
- Encourage your children to play outside, ride a bike, play basketball with friends.
- Include children in active chores, such as washing the car or walking the dog.
- Enroll your child in a structured activity like gymnastics, tennis, martial arts, soccer, etc.
Making changes can have its challenges, especially today when families are juggling busy schedules, time, finances, and other daily stressors. But if you work together and support one another, your chance of success will be much greater. Eventually, new healthy choices or activities will become established healthy habits, and you will be well on your way to helping you and your children maintain a healthy weight and better health for the entire family.