The best way to avoid getting sick this season is to strengthen your immune system and practice preventive care to stay healthy

Photo credit: TLC

While the flu shot may be at the top of your list of defenses against the virus, it still can’t fully protect you from it, according to everydayhealth.com. Aside from staying clear from crowded places and anyone who might have been infected, frequently washing your hands – what else can you do? The best way to avoid getting sick this season — and always — is to strengthen your immune system and practice preventive care to stay healthy. Below we have a few steps you can take.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut are super healthy for your gut! Photo credit: thekitchn.com

Start with Your Gut: Add Probiotics

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help reduce inflammation and prevent infection; they may also reduce the severity of a cold or flu – and these microbes live in your gut. Yoghurt and femented foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir support bacterial health and strengthen your gut!

A Big No-No: Processed Foods

Avoid sugar, gluten, processed foods as they dramatically increase your immune function. Instead opt for nutrient-dense and anti-oxidant rich foods such as veggies and fruits, dark leafy greens, berries, salmon and sweet potatoes that will help boost your immune system. Good news: dark chocolate is an anti-oxidant superfood!

Curb the Cold with Zinc!


For many, vitamin C is the go-to remedy during the flu season thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity and antibiotic qualities. But there’s another nutrient that can help curb cold symptoms fast and it is very often overlooked: zinc! Studies show that zinc can help shorten the duration of a cold by a few days because it has powerful immune-boosting and protective effects that stop the replication of cold cells. This nutrient can be found in a variety of foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, oysters, nuts and beans.

Keep it Moving, But Don’t Forget to Rest!

Keep up with your regular exercise regime – or develop one! Research shows that people who exercise in moderation report fewer colds. But don’t lose sleep over it: getting enough rest is a key component to a flu-free winter. At least seven hours of sleep a night are recommended to keep your immune system ready and boosted to fight off colds and the flu!

Lavender Oil, a Natural Hand Sanitizer

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is essential to stay bacteria – and virus-free. But instead of using anti-bacterial products loaded with toxins that dry out and crack your skin, try lavender oil as a natural hand sanitizer – it is also great for soothing dry, cracked skin during harsh weather conditions.

Lavender oil – keeps your hands clean, fresh and smooth! Photo credit: juju Aroma.

A Natural Cleaner To Keep Your Surfaces Virus-Free: Tea Tree Oil

One of the easiest ways to contract the flu virus is touching contaminated objects such as phones, computers and desks. and then putting your fingers near your mouth and eyes. Tea tree oil which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that have been shown to help treat psoriasis, nail fungus and acne, also is a great cleaner. And If you can’t find a cleaner with tea tree oil, you can easily make your own: Combine equal parts distilled vinegar and water, and several drops of tea tree oil.

Keep you Air Fresh and Clean – Open a Window!

Improve the circulation in your home by opening windows. Indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air, so it’s wise to air out your home daily by opening your windows. Another great tool to help clean the air: houseplants such as aloe vera, spider plants and peace lilies filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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