When cold and flu season rolls around it is always in everyone’s best interest to boost their immune system to prevent catching any illness. One of the best ways to do that is by keeping a healthy amount of vitamins in your system over the duration of the winter months to avoid catching a cold and help strengthen immunity.
Of course, it is always good to keep your body’s supply of vitamins full. There are some essential vitamins you should stock up on for the winter to reduce the risk of catching cold and flu viruses:
Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins for the body’s immune system’s health. It keeps all the antibodies going, and helps the immune system defend your body from illnesses. Vitamin C also contributes greatly to the function of cells such as T-cells and phagocytes. Additionally, it not only helps the innate system but also the adaptive immune system.
Vitamin D also known as the sunshine vitamin, helps prevent the chances of contracting respiratory infections. It reduces the duration of those an infection. This vitamin builds up your respiratory tract and makes it stronger thus giving it the upper hand in a battle against infection.
Zinc is another vitamin that helps reduce the duration of a cold or the flu. It actually reduces the duration by around 50%. It is a great vitamin to prevent colds or to treat colds. It is important to only take the recommended or prescribed amount. You should be especially careful with zinc since high levels of zinc or zinc overdose will make you feel dizzy and even nauseous. The effects could also last for hours.
Echinacea is yet another vitamin that will help your immune system defend itself from the flu and common cold germs. It also helps ease the aches and pains that come with having a cold. It will help you feel better throughout the day without having to use synthetic medicines.
Sources of Vitamins to Prevent Illness
Vitamins can be found in many different forms which is a great thing since they are almost always going to be easy to access. Historically, our ancestors used to get their daily doses of vitamins through their foods, but depending on the season or the area they lived in, many vitamins were not available to them.
Since fruits and vegetables are the main natural source for vitamins and minerals, they may have not had easy or any access to them during the winter due to cold temperatures. Therefore, they were much more likely to catch an illness during the cold season because of their vitamin deficiency.
Modern people rarely have this problem, and thankfully vitamin deficiency rates are plummeting for the same reason. Now we have fruits and vegetables available year-round. We even have the wonderful option of taking dietary supplements which contain the daily recommended amount of vitamins we should be getting.
You can either eat fruits and veggies that have high vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc content; or you can run to your local health store to find the form of dietary supplement that most suits your preference. You can also find natural Echinacea in tinctures and small pills in your natural health store. And of course, we suggest only taking the recommended dose.
Preventing Colds and the Flu in Children
Depending on the child’s age, there are different ways you can give them their necessary vitamins and minerals, and prevent illnesses like the flu and colds.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that everyone over 6 month of age (with a few rare exceptions) should get a flu vaccine each year in order to prevent the illness. So, according to the NIH it is essential in preventing colds in both children and adults. If the child is under 6 months old, and still of breastfeeding age, breast milk contains all the nutrients that a baby needs, including all the antibodies and immune system boosters like vitamin C and D.
In addition to the flu vaccine, you can prevent your child from catching a common cold or the flu by feeding them foods that are high in vitamin C and D, and zinc. These foods are citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins, limes, and lemons. Natural citrus juice works just as well. Applesauce is also a good source of vitamins; natural or homemade applesauce is the best way to go. If your child is a picky eater, you might want to try making them a broth or soup that contains a lot of veggies such as carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Chicken to give it a hardier taste. Chicken noodle soup is always a household favorite!
When the flu season comes around it is best to visit your local doctor if you or your child is presenting flu or cold symptoms and get your doctor’s opinion on the best ways to get vitamins into your bodies. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands as frequently as possible, especially if your children are going to school, that way you also cut down your chances of getting sick.