When being a bad host is a good thing.

When being a bad host is a good thing.

When we have guests over, like we used to, we always want to be a great host: clean the house prior, get the guest space tidied up, fill the refrigerator full of everybody’s favorite food and drink. We want everybody to feel welcome and taken care of.

There are times, however, that being a bad host is a good thing. Take for instance, viruses or other similar diseases. The type of host you are for a virus gives a good idea of how you will do on fending it off.

What does a good host look like?

For many viruses, a good host is weak, unhealthy, sedentary, careless, stressed, and unsanitary. A good viral host eats a poor diet, might be deficient in proper nutrients, does not get sufficient exercise, does not practice proper hygiene, has a poor mental attitude, etc. Now, to be a good viral host, you do not need all of these habits or traits but, the more you have the more at risk you may be to host a virus.

Do I want to be a bad host?

Yes! A bad viral host typically has a healthy body from proper nutrition, sufficient exercise, positive mental attitude, stress management, proper hygiene. A healthy body and healthy immune system is essential to being able to fend off invading pathogens. Harvard Medical School wrote an article with some immune strengthening strategies that may help you become a worst host:

  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Minimize stress.

Are vitamin and mineral supplements helpful?

Chris D’Adamo, PhD, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, helped create a prevention strategies guide with the Institute for Functional Medicine. These guidelines are in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Vitamin C may help prevent viral, bacterial and other infections by shortening the duration of colds and acting as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
  • Vitamin D is one of the most important immune system-strengthening nutrients that can reduce the risk of colds and flu; this should be taken on a regular basis.
  • Vitamin A, when used on a short-term basis, can help support the body’s ability to fight infections, especially with respiratory infections.
  • Zinc can help reduce the number of infections and the duration of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of onset.
  • Selenium is a key nutrient for immune function and is easily obtained from foods like the Brazil nut. Selenium is also an antioxidant, which strengthens the body’s defenses against bacteria, viruses and cancer cells.
  • Raw honey is good at relieving minor pain and inflammation of mucous membranes, like nose and mouth, and has antioxidant properties and some microbial effects; it is helpful for coughs and sore throats and can be added to tea or hot water with lemon. (Note that children under 1 should not be given honey.)
  • Garlic, fresh, aged extract and garlic supplements, may reduce the severity of upper viral respiratory infections and function in preventing viral infections of the common cold.
  • Probiotics contain “good bacteria” that both support gut health and influence the function and regulation of the immune system. They also can decrease the number of respiratory infections, especially in children.

In short, a healthy lifestyle with some supplemental support is the best way to keep your body strong and healthy when it comes to fending off outside pathogens and from contracting illness.

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