Boosting your immune system during cold & flu season with Diala CaneloOctober, 2019
My name is Diala Canelo, and I am Toronto-based recipe developer, food and travel blogger, author and flight attendant. I have a job that requires a lot of travel every month. It not only exposes me to jetlag, lack of sleep and getting my body adjusted to different time zones, but also to germs and flu viruses, that can take a toll on my immune health.
There’s nothing that gets more in the way of enjoying life to the fullest, than a cold or flu that comes out of the blue. We’ve all been there. One day we have an itchy throat, and the next we are in bed, unable to do anything but stay home with pain all over our body a stuffy nose or, in some cases, a fever.
Because health has always been a priority for me and taking care of my body is a must, I want to share with you some of the ways I strengthen my immune system throughout the year. And especially during cold and flu season.
Eat a nutrient-packed, well rounded diet
My dad, a doctor who combines traditional and alternative medicine, has always emphasized the importance of healthy eating. “We are what we eat” is his philosophy, one that he shared with me since I was a kid. This philosophy has stayed with me and I’ve passed it on to my daughters.
The way I eat is balanced. I don’t believe in bad foods, but in wise choices. So, I limit processed foods and eat mostly a plant-based diet with fish twice a week. Fruits and vegetables are a staple in our home, especially antioxidant-rich fruit, such as berries, citrus and kiwis. I always add them to smoothies after a workout or snack on a handful before a meal. Antioxidants help support our immune system and are rich in vitamin C, both being key my personal suggestions to minimize the symptoms and length of a cold.
On a regular day, I usually start with hot water with lemon, followed by a coffee, steel cut oatmeal, Greek yogurt and a bit of fruit. After CrossFit or the gym, I have a protein shake to support my muscles. Lunch is usually a vegetable frittata, or a hearty soup, and for dinnertime I usually go for fish and salad.
Once you have the habit of working out, it’s hard to go a day without it. I strive to work out five days a week. Whether its CrossFit, running or hot yoga – working out not only provides me with endorphins, but it’s key for my peace of mind. I find that the benefits of working out are simply endless.
I have found that hot yoga is not only good for my flexibility, but I’ve also found that it’s essential for my mental health. An opportunity to reset on stressful days! We all know how stress can affect our health and our immune system, which brings me to one of my personal go-to self care essentials during cold and flu season.
COLD-FX® Daily Support
The stronger our immune system is, the less likely we are to catch a cold or the flu. We really do need all the help we can get. This year, I’ve added COLD-FX® Daily Support, a natural health product that is clinically proven formula. It helps reduce the chance of catching cold and flus and allows me to keep doing the things I love during cold and flu season. COLD-FX® Daily Support helps reduce the Frequency, Severity and Duration of cold and flu symptoms by Boosting the Immune System. To be sure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label! Using COLD-FX® Daily Support, has become a daily habit and I wouldn’t dream of not having with me during the cold and flu season.
Wash your hands with soap and water, alternatively use hand sanitizer!
Because I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen, this comes really easy, but on days that I’m running around doing errands or traveling, sometimes forgotten but still equally important. I find that washing my hands is a great and easy way of helping one from getting sick. Soap and water are really all you need. I make sure I lather my hands for 30 seconds, for the full benefits. If you find you are out in public and don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is the next best thing!
Eight hours of quality sleep
Sometimes when feeling overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list, my sleep takes a back seat. I find that if I’m not prioritizing those eight hours of sleep, it becomes a habit, and my immune system can greatly suffer. So, I make sure to try and always go to bed around the same time of night (when possible) and maintain a good sleeping schedule. I usually try to go to bed by 11:00pm and stay off social media for at least one hour prior to that. A good book and tea is my perfect way to unwind.
Get friendly with garlic
Not only does it add great flavour to meals, in my time as a recipe developer, I’ve found it’s also a natural antimicrobial agent. I love adding it to soups during the fall and winter and include it on most of my savory recipes!
Like clockwork, the moment I’m stressed, I tend to get a cold or flu. So, I’ve learned to take breaks when needed and include mediation and hot yoga in my life as a way to reduce stress. I also stay away from social media a few days a week, as a way to be more mindful and be more connected to the people around me. I would recommend finding what works for you and stick with it! Whether it’s being in nature, gardening, journaling, or anything that puts your mind at ease. Take time for yourself. Our bodies will thank us for it!
Toronto-based recipe developer, food and travel blogger and author of the cookbook – Diala’s Kitchen