5 things you didn't realize were getting you sick
Not eating breakfast
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But eating when you wake up is not just about upping your energy and your metabolism, it also plays a big role in staying healthy.
"Over 60 percent of the body's antibodies that destroy infectious invaders are found in the gut, so it's extremely important to keep a healthy digestive system," says Keri Glassman, nutritionist and author of The New You and Improved Diet. Breakfast is the perfect time to get in probiotics, a friendly bacteria found in yoghurt that can improve your stomach and digestive tract. Throw on some fruit and granola and you've got a tasty meal perfect for flu season.
We all have our moments when things just don't go our way. But if your tendency is to freak out every time something is frustrating, it may be doing a lot more than affecting your stress levels.
"It's causing a cortisol spike that increases your blood sugar and decreases the fighting power of your immune system," says Robin Berzin MD, Curator of Health Interactive. "The effects of which last for days." So next time your boss is on your back or your guy doesn’t return your call, take a deep breath and try to let it go. It will be a win-win situation on so many levels.
Skipping the gym
You won't have to be in a bathing suit in front of all your friends for months, but that doesn't mean you should slack off on your exercise routine. Sure you're allowed to choose a night on the couch over a run on the treadmill here and there this winter, but it's not just your waistline that will be affected.
Besides the obvious calories burned, Glassman says that daily exercise has been shown to help your immune system by fighting off bacterial and viral infections. "Exercise flushes out bacteria from the lungs, which decreases your chance of illness, and may help antibodies and white blood cells circulate through the body more quickly to detect potential illnesses," she explains. "Also the rise in body temperature from exercise helps by preventing bacterial growth."
You are probably spending way more time on your cell surfing the Internet (or trying to clear all the jelly in Candy Crush) than you'd like to admit. But did you know that your phone screen often contains more germs than a toilet seat?
According to Danine Fruge MD, fomites or surfaces that have living viruses on them, are often the very things that we spend the most time touching. You wash your hands before leaving the restroom, so try to get in the habit of wiping down your gadgets with a disinfectant regularly. Beware of computer keyboards, doorknobs, kids toys, and TV remotes too.
Speaking of washing your hands: We know to after we use the bathroom and before dinner, but what about pre-afternoon snack? Thanks to fomites, popping something in your mouth without a little soap and water first may be getting you sick. Hand-to-face contact accounts for one third of all cases of flu, says Berzin. Also, touching your nose or mouth subconsciously can spread germs. So next time you decide to prop up your head with your palm, think again, or head to the sink first.