4 More Ways to Beat the Cold and Flu: Vitamin D, Exercise, Massage, Chili

Forget over the counter medications or just hoping to manage your symptoms when they arrive. There are plenty of easy ways to beat the cold and flu before they develop.

 
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Beating the cold and flu has now become a multibillion dollar a year industry. Yet research has shown that most medications can actually increase the duration of the symptoms, even if they do manage to suppress some of them.

That’s not a very good tradeoff if you think about it, especially when you consider that you can likely avoid the worst of the cold and flu with some simple items from your very own household. Rather than rushing to the drugstore at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms, try the following; you’ll likely save time, money, and hours (or days) of symptoms.

1 Ingest Vitamin D

Individuals with high levels of Vitamin D in their system are significantly less likely to develop respiratory infections than those who do not. Often times, you get more than enough Vitamin D just from sun exposure. This isn’t possible during the winter months (unless you live very close to the equator), hence the prevalence of respiratory problems.

Supplementing with Vitamin D can be an excellent way to bridge the gap. Fortified milk and dairy are excellent sources, as are dietary supplements. Look for Vitamin D3. It is more biologically functional than D2. Fish such as salmon are also high in Vitamin D.

2 Get some Light Exercise

Exercising regularly does more than help you lose weight and sculpt your body. It actually strengthens your immune system. A study performed by Appalachian State University found that individuals who took half-hour walks five times a week were only half as likely to develop a cold or viral infection as non-walkers. That’s an incredible decline in incidence, and it doesn’t just have to be a walk.

Play basketball, soccer, or go hiking. Any form of exercise should do the trick. Be careful, however, not to overdo it if you’re already feeling quite sick, as prolonged exercise can worsen existing symptoms.

3 Get a Swedish Massage

For some reason, it seems that laying on your stomach and having your back massaged can prevent a cold. The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that after experiencing a 45-minute Swedish massage, individuals experienced a pronounced increase in Lymphocytes, the white blood cells that are so integral to your body’s immune system. So next time you’re feeling under the weather, treat yourself to a massage.

4 Eat Some Chili

If made properly, chili can be an extremely powerful immunity booster. The beans themselves contain isoflavones that help your immune function. The hot sauce will clear your sinuses and speed up your metabolism. The various array of vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that have proven virus-fighting capabilities.

Yet it may be the tomatoes that take home the grand prize. They have lycopene (an extremely powerful phytonutrient), Vitamins A and C, and Potassium. Plus, few foods can warm you up after a cold day as well as chili.

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