The Myths and The Facts About Boosting Your Immune System
Winter is coming in fast this year. Not only does that mean cookies, family reunions and the holiday season, but it also means a different kind of season is right around the corner. Cold season.
Cold is not referring too snowmen or cute scarves, but stuffed noses, sore throats, and the annoying, never leaving, hacking cough. Just in time before you or your kids venture out into the contagious world we live in, here are a few often misconceived thoughts and the cold hard facts about boosting your immune system.
Cover your mouth!
FACT. Yes, your mother did teach you correctly. Sneezing and coughing is an extremely plausible and easy way to catch a cold. If you are the one that’s contagious, cover up and stay away! If you are trying to stay healthy, wash your hands regularly and try to avoid contact with your face. We are in contact with germs and viruses constantly, the last thing we should do is force feed them to ourselves.
Exercise can help!
FACT. Not only does it keep the holiday pounds at bay, exercise has loads of benefits for our bodies, including our immune systems. So before you think staying at home in bed where the germs can’t get you is a good idea, think again. Get up and go work out, but make sure to wash your hands afterwards.
“Wear a jacket or you’ll catch a cold!”
MYTH. Don’t quote us directly on this, we know our mothers wouldn’t be too happy, but after plenty of trial experiments run on if the cold really “makes us” sick, the result is a little here and there. Scientists can’t really bust this myth completely. The cold might inhibit us from dealing with infection, it makes us uncomfortable and of course there are issues such as hypothermia, etc., but if it causes the cold, is not certain.
Fruit and veggies for the win!
FACT. They don’t taste as delicious as gingerbread cookies (FACT), but there are numerous studies of a direct correlation between eating healthy and a strong immune system. The nutrients that they provide are instantaneously beneficial to your health. Remember, try and make your plate as colorful as possible, not with sprinkles and frosting, of course.
MYTH. There is actually not much evidence supporting supplements that provide a boost in the chemical components of your immune system so much so that you are protected. The problem here is that there are thousands of different parts that make up our immune system. The supplements that claim they are preventing sickness just cannot be possible. Though they might be helping specific parts, here in this advice, we can say, it doesn’t hurt to take them. But we wouldn’t rely on them specifically to ward off the common cold.
Some people have poor immune systems.
FACT. Unfortunately some poor souls are just more susceptible to picking up the cold, or worse. They could have been born with “impaired” immune systems, or they could have weakened ones from diseases or even medical treatments. So if you feel like you are always the one to catch a cold, it’s probably true. Do some more research to maybe figure out why.
Socially isolating yourself from others (stay away germs!)
MYTH. Germs are everywhere! Being on your own will not help your battle this cold season. Actually on the contrary, having good and strong, constant relationships with others is extremely beneficial to your mental and physical health. Also another (not so) fun fact is that being lonely can actually negatively affect some of the genes that control the immune system. So don’t be afraid to cuddle this winter!
Sleep helps. A lot!
FACT. It’s not a secret that some animals hibernate during the winter. Sleep is vital to us and our bodies to keep up a healthy immune system and a general healthy lifestyle.
This correlates as well to our stress levels, which of course, we would love to keep down in general. Surprisingly a little stress, helps keep the body ready, engaging in the “fight or flight” mode. But chronic stress can block or suppress the immune system.
Studies were shown that lack of sleep prohibits a great deal of antibodies being made. In less complicated terms: less sleep, more stress equals more sickness.
Overall, being sick can never be fun. Though we haven’t yet found a perfect solution or combination to keep the cold away, there is hope. There are some things we can do to help prevent as much unhealthiness as possible, but don’t believe everything you hear.