As temperatures continue to drop and autumn makes way for winter, you may find yourself feeling a little under the weather.
You may even be fighting off a cold or a case of the flu. Fortunately, you can take steps to keep yourself healthy and to prevent the risk of illness this year.
Here, learn about three easy ways to avoid becoming sick.
1. Stay Healthy with Vitamin D
Adding some vitamin D to your diet could keep you from getting sick this year. A study published in a 2014 edition of the journal BMC Infectious Diseases found that individuals who took a vitamin D3 supplement were significantly less likely to develop an upper respiratory infection.(1)
An earlier study published in a 2011 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a lower risk of respiratory infections.(2, 3)
Increase your own level of vitamin D with a supplement or by eating foods such as milk, cheese, egg yolks, and fatty fish, which are good sources of vitamin D.
2. Exercise to Avoid Infection
Regular physical activity could also keep you healthy this winter. In a study conducted for a 2011 edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers evaluated the relationship between aerobic exercise and upper respiratory infections.(4)
They found that compared to individuals who were sedentary, those who engaged in aerobic exercise 5 days per week experienced fewer days with an upper respiratory infection during the course of the 12-week study.
Those who exercised more often also experienced less severe upper respiratory infection symptoms than did those who were sedentary.
A 2012 study in the Annals of Family Medicine produced similar results. The authors of the study found that individuals who exercised regularly experienced fewer cases of acute respiratory infections during the winter cold and flu season than did those in a control group.(5)
3. Fight a Cold with Vitamin C
The research suggests that vitamin C may protect you from catching a cold. In a 2006 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants received either a 50 milligram or a 500 milligram vitamin C supplement every day.(6)
Results showed that those who received the higher dose of vitamin C were significantly less likely to suffer from a cold throughout the course of the study.
A review published in 2004 in the journal Military Medicine analyzed the results of 12 different studies concerned with the relationship between vitamin C and respiratory infections.(7)
Five of the studies that were reviewed found that vitamin C supplementation significantly reduced the risk of the common cold, and three studies found that vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of developing pneumonia.
You can purchase a vitamin C supplement at the grocery or drug store to keep yourself healthy, or you can munch on berries, peas, peppers, oranges, and kiwi, all of which are rich in vitamin C.
Increasing your intake of vitamin C, and other preventative measures, such as taking a vitamin D supplement and exercising regularly, could keep you healthy this season.
By making some tweaks to your diet and spending a few hours per week at the gym, you can spare yourself weeks of illness and time off of work.
Researches and references