Nobody looks forward to the arrival of cold and flu season, but the spread of winter germs can be particularly challenging for people in the early stages of recovery. Drug and alcohol misuse lowers the body’s immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. This damage takes time to repair, but there are three easy ways you can help accelerate the healing process.
1. Make Sleep a Priority
In today’s driven, fast-paced world, it’s often considered a badge of honor to subsist on little or no sleep. However, getting the rest your body needs is the best way to boost your immune system. When you don’t get the sleep you need, T-cell counts go down and inflammatory cytokines go up. This makes your body more vulnerable to viruses and bacterial infections and increases the amount of time you need to recover if you do get sick.
Good sleep hygiene promotes a more restful slumber. Points to remember include:
● Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
● Limit daytime naps to no more than 30 minutes.
● Avoid caffeine and nicotine in the late afternoon and evening hours.
● Avoid spicy, rich, fatty or fried foods in the evening, since these are common heartburn triggers that affect sleep quality.
2. Eat Right
A diet rich in antioxidants enhances your body’s ability to fight off bacterial and viral infections. Antioxidant rich foods include:
● Vitamin C – Found in oranges, strawberries, melons, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.
● Vitamin E – Found in leafy green vegetables as well as nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs and milk.
● Carotenoids (which contain beta-carotene) – Found in peaches, watermelon, apricots, beets, sweet potatoes, squash and corn.
● Zinc – Found in whole grains, beans, nuts, dairy products and seafood.
● Selenium – Found in Brazil nuts, tuna, beef and poultry.
Boost your intake of these key foods by enjoying fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, salads with mixed vegetables, and homemade trail mix with your favorite nuts, whole grain granola or dried fruit. Supplements are generally not necessary, but you can talk to your healthcare provider if you have dietary restrictions or food allergies that would make it difficult to get enough of these key nutrients.
3. Get Moving
When you exercise, your body produces more of the blood cells that attack infection-causing bacteria and viruses. Research suggests people who exercise moderately at least five days per week have half as many colds and sore throats as sedentary people.
Exercising doesn’t need to include running a marathon or spending hours at the gym to be effective. Anything you can do to be more active will be beneficial, whether you’re playing tag with your kids, going for a brisk walk after dinner or scheduling some morning yoga.
A Holistic Approach to Addiction Recovery
The experienced addiction counselors at Immersion Recovery Center believe a holistic approach that focuses on the needs of the individual is the best way to promote a lasting recovery. To learn more about our residential and outpatient treatment options, fill out our confidential online form or call 561.419.3349 now. Ask about insurance verification to help with the financial piece of your recovery puzzle.