We’re right smack in the dab of winter and it’s more important to boost your immune system this time of the year more than any other. Winter time is synonymous with cold and flu season, so why not try a few methods for warding off those winter sniffles?
Here are some winter immune boosters that will help to keep you healthy right through spring:
Diet- What you eat and what vitamins and minerals that food contains is also a huge boost to your immune system. Many doctors agree that a balanced and varied diet is key to warding off sickness. A diet rich in vitamin C, zinc, iron and selenium will give your immune system that boost.
According to CNN.com your nutrition profoundly affects your ability to fight these diseases. Filling up your plate with lean protein, including chicken, fish and fat-free dairy products is essential. The molecules that fight disease are made of protein.
Certain fats also improve cellular function and the ability to fight disease. Healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil and nuts are healthy fats that can boost immunity.
It’s also important to include fruits, vegetables and whole grains in our diet. These contain important antioxidants that keep blood levels of vitamin c, beta-carotene, zinc and B-vitamins high.
Exercise- Exercise, in moderation, is a great way to boost your immune system for the winter. Because exercise improves your circulation, immune cells are able to get around your body better to target viruses.
Sunshine- Vitamin D, which is produced in the skin after exposure to the sun, is a great boost for your immune system and cell defense. Even getting outdoors when the sun is shining, despite the cold weather, will do wonders for your body.
Echinacea- According to a study put out last year, Echinacea, an herbal medicine, could reduce the risk of you catching a cold by half. The study also looked into its effectiveness in treating more serious respiratory infections, as well. Echinacea is said to regulate the immune system’s response to infection.
Stimulants- Be aware of the amount of stimulants that you put into your body. Where no research shows that an abundance of stimulants have an adverse effect on your immune system, moderation should be used when dealing with caffeine, alcohol and over-the-counter drugs. If you are looking for a stimulant that could help your immune system try green tea instead. The antioxidants in green tea will help to prevent illness in the long run.
Sleep- If you are looking for a surefire way to help ward off a cold and the flu this year, be sure to get your seven hours a sleep per night. Sleep is extremely important and many doctors agree that lack of sleep can have a negative response on our immune system and our body as a whole.
Meditation- Even just 20 minutes a day of peace, quiet and relaxation can have a major impact on your immune system and can help to ward off winter colds. If you are able to put your body into a meditative state at least once a day, your bodies’ cells will be able to rejuvenate tremendously. Meditation is also a good stress reliever and can allow you to re-energize.
Mood/Stress- Being positive and avoiding stressful situations are both excellent immune boosters. While everyone’s mood and stress levels are different, studies have shown that chronic stress and depression have been linked to a weakened immune system. It’s important to find the stress in your life and work to deal with that stress in a positive way or to eliminate the stressful situations entirely.