I have four doctor's appointments today. Yes my friends, you read that correctly. I am blessed to have good health, even though I have a very bad back. Today's visits are just preventative care. For all of you young folks out there, you most likely will think these are a waste of time. I used to think the same thing. But then you get older. One of my visits is with my OB/GYN, a wonderful man. The only man, other than my husband, that's seen me naked — I'd like to keep it that way. I was thinking how odd it is that I started seeing him a few months before I married 28 years ago. I continued seeing him through the birth of my children, then I didn't see him again until just a few years ago. Pregnancies and menopause — that poor man has seen me at my hormonal worst! Then there's my primary care physician, dermatologist, and I'm getting my yearly mammogram today as well. Have you ladies had the girls checked out this year?? It's never too early to start this yearly habit.
So today, being very grateful for my good health made me think of ways to prevent the common cold and flu this season. With the holidays coming, there is NO time to get sick! Ain't nobody got time for that! Have you seen that video? I love that video — YouTube it folks! Here are 10 easy tricks to keeping yourself and your loved ones well this season!
Keep your toes toasty.A case of old feet could lead to a lot of achoo-ing. How? Chilly tootsies tell your brain to conserve your body's heat. The brain then responds by firing messages that reduce blood flow to areas that lose heat quickly, like the mucus membranes of the sinuses. Decreased blood flow means decreased flow of infection-fighting white blood cells, leaving your body more vulnerable to viruses. Our mother's advice was right: Wear warm socks!
Swish salt water.Putting your shaker to work could pay off. In one study, scientists found gargling with a mixture of 8 oz warm water and ½ tsp salt at least 10 seconds twice daily cut a person’s risk of viral infections as much as 34%. The reason: When we breathe in sickness-causing bacteria or viruses, they can get stuck in the mucus membrane in the back of the throat. Rinsing with a gargle that contains salt—a natural antiseptic—can flush out problematic phlegm and purge illness-producing invaders. Phlegm, what is it good for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
Pass on pain meds for minor aches.Aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) work by suppressing natural, protective compounds, like white blood cells—the very agents responsible for attacking and destroying invading germs. So during cold season, strive to steer clear of those pills unless you truly need them.
Get moving.Weaving a workout into your daily routine could cut your risk of catching a cold by a whopping 50%, say researchers at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Regular exercise stimulates the brain to produce more serotonin, dopamine and human growth hormone. These compounds help your body optimize production of germ-fighting antibodies and make them more aggressive when they encounter invaders. More good news: Even chunks of exercise—15 minutes here or there can be enough! That's for me!
Partake in tea time.Did you know that people produce three times more interferons, powerful proteins that destroy viral invaders on contact, if they sip 20 oz of black tea daily? The credit goes to the beverage’s naturally potent antioxidants. For a bigger health bang, let your tea steep for a few minutes before you sip. Studies show this helps release more of the drink’s disease-fighting antioxidants.
Turn on the tube.
Tuning in for 30 minutes today may protect you from colds and flu later. Bizarre, huh? According to researchers at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, taking a daily, calming TV break can cut your risk of developing illness by up to 80%. 80% PEOPLE! The stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin slow down white blood cells, making it harder for them to kill invading viruses. But a fun-filled break that leaves you feeling relaxed squashes adrenalin and cortisol output within minutes, allowing your immune system to aggressively attack invaders. I wonder what an hour would do??
Consider crafting.Sewing, scrapbooking, stain-glassing—spending just 20 minutes daily doing a soothing, stress-shredding craft can strengthen your immunity by 76%. That’s because your body’s ability to produce virus-fighting white blood cells and protective antibodies rises as soon as stress hormone production drops, The same as watching TV. I think there's a theme here - find an activity that relaxes you, mine would be to read.
Another reason to work in enough winks: Deep sleep is your body’s prime time for building infection-fighting antibodies and interleukins, natural inflammation and illness fighters. Studies have shown that being chronically tired can almost double your risk of catching nasty infections and staying sick for a longer time. Fortunately, snoozing at least eight hours nightly can reduce your risk. This explains why during the height of menopause, when I was not getting much sleep, I had bouts of bronchitis every year!
Get a massage.A great excuse to hit the spa: Researchers have found that the soothing strokes of a massage can reduce the body’s production of immunity-weakening stress hormones and increase feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin! And all good people said, "AMEN!" Massages help us feel happier and more energized. No time for a professional treatment? Massage your scalp, face and neck using slow, circular motions for 10 minutes each day.
It really is the most important meal of the day, especially if you’re surrounded by sickness. Breakfast eaters are half as likely to fall prey to viral infections. Experts say regular morning meals triple your body’s production of gamma interferon, a natural antiviral compound. And you don’t have to whip up anything fancy to get this protection, any A.M. meal works, as long as you leave the table feeling full.
Now, I ask you, is this not a great list you can get behind to help prevent those nasty winter colds and the flu? Do what you can, when you can for your the benefit of your health and those you love! You will really be glad ya did!
THE DOMESTIC CURATOR