Colds are a problem this time of year, and most of us are lucky to only suffer from one or two each winter. Here are 6 easy ways to prevent the sniffles.

1.Sleep: Sleep regulates the release of the hormone cortisol, which stimulates cells that boost the immune system, A well-tuned immune system is crucial for defending against the cold virus.Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is a great way to avoid the common cold.

2. Exercise: Research indicates that moderate exercise — 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week — increases immune function and reduces your chances of catching a cold. Don’t use the fact you are not feeling well to avoid the gym. Instead use it as motivation to get your workout in and in return you may just recover a bit faster!

3. A hot — and cold — shower: Temperature fluctuations jump-start your immune system. At the end of a shower, stand under the hottest stream you can take for 30 seconds, then turn the temperature to cold for 10 seconds. Repeat three times, finishing with cold.

4. Oysters: Oysters contain more of the mineral zinc than any other food. Zinc has been proven to support and enhance the immune system. Eating just a single oyster will give you a whopping 13 milligrams of zinc! Not a fan of oysters? Work other zinc filled options into your diet. Certain breakfast cereals, baked beans, or pumpkin seeds can be great options.

5. Vitamin D: This great vitamin is a MUST for the winter, and great for your immune system.

6. Nasal Rinse: Neti pots and irrigators cleanse the nasal passages with a saltwater solution. Rinses help sweep viruses, bacteria, and irritants from your respiratory tract.

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