Fit through the flu season: effectively preventing infections
From diet to exercise and avoiding stress – we explain how to boost your immune system so that flu and cold viruses stand no chance!
Follow the ‘hands, face, space’ rules to combat any kind of virus
The measures that help to fight coronaviruses are also the best weapons against flu and cold viruses:
Make space: Keeping a distance of around 1.5 metres from others outside your own household prevents direct contact with droplets that transmit the viruses.
Wash hands: If you don’t have a tissue to hand, you should always cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm. You should also regularly wash and/or disinfect your hands.
Wear a mask: Wearing a mask in public spaces is important for preventing the transmission of droplets – especially in places where it is difficult to keep your distance.
You should also take one additional measure during the cold months of the year when we mostly stay indoors …
Let in some fresh air: This has two benefits. Firstly, droplets and aerosols can escape through the window and, secondly, it improves the room climate so that mucous membranes do not dry out in the centrally heated air.
A healthy diet boosts the immune system
Generally speaking, your immune system will be boosted by a balanced, varied diet that is high in fibre and includes raw foods wherever possible.
Particularly important allies in the immune system’s fight against the so-called free radicals are antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E or selenium. These ‘trap’ the radicals, allowing the immune system to combat them. They can mainly be found in fruit and vegetables, herbs, wild plants, shoots and seeds.
Incidentally, large parts of your immune system are located in your gut. Keeping your gut flora and mucosa healthy is thus an effective way of protecting your immune system. Probiotics can help here, which you can take either by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and miso or in capsule form. Some lactic acid bacteria even have an antiviral effect.
Known natural virus killers also include the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), turmeric and ginger. They have been successfully used in many traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda for thousands of years and help the body to prevent and fight illness.
Exercise in the fresh air
Studies suggest that people who partake in regular physical activity get fewer colds than those who are less active. Thus, if you regularly exercise five times a week, it is likely that you will have a cold on half as many days in the year as non-active people.
Going for a walk in the fresh air is a particularly good way of preventing the mucous membranes from drying out. This is important for maintaining their protective functions and combating viruses and germs.
It is by no means necessary to partake in high-performance sport – a little exercise every now and then is enough to keep your circulation going and thus also your immune system. And an immune system that receives this kind of boost can react much better to pathogens.
At the same time, you should always make sure that your body in general, but your feet in particular are always kept warm. This promotes a good blood flow, from which your body’s own defence system benefits.
Rest, sleep and avoid stress
A hectic daily routine and permanent stress can have a direct negative impact on your immune system and actively weaken it. If the mind suffers, it often also leads to physical complaints.
You should therefore always make sure that you incorporate as many regular breaks as possible into your daily routine (also while at work), ideally outside in the fresh air every now and then. Only a rested and intact body is sufficiently armed to combat viruses and germs.
This also includes getting enough sleep – the amount needed differs from one individual to the next. You certainly soon establish how much sleep is right for you. The fact is, too little, restless or irregular sleep puts a strain on your body and thus also your immune system.
Besides the amount of sleep, a good sleeping climate is also crucial. If you air the room before going to sleep and also make sure that the air humidity is maintained during the night, you will actively protect your mucous membranes from drying out. Damp cloths on the radiators or special air humidifiers can help here.
Relaxation methods such as meditation or tai chi also actively help to reduce stress, enabling you to get a good night’s sleep.
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