10 SIMPLE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM THIS MONTH
The colder weather is quickly approaching, and unfortunately, so is the start of cold and flu season. Boosting your immune system is a great way to keep yourself healthy during the winter months. And, luckily enough, it’s fairly easy to do.
Sometimes we tend to overthink our health. When it comes to having a strong immune system, all we really need to do is go back to the basics. The trouble is, these are the exact things we tend to skip or overlook during busy periods in our lives.
Make an effort to double down on your health this month by following these 10 easy tips:
1. GET YOUR SLEEP
You’ve heard it a thousand times, but sleep is the holy grail of health. Without it, nothing works- including your immune system. Studies show that people with limited sleep are at a higher risk for colds and other viruses. Long-term sleep deprivation can also contribute to more serious health problems, including high blood pressure, memory issues, strokes, and obesity. Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults and 9-12 hours of sleep per night for children, depending on exact age.
2. EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Keeping your body fueled with healthy, natural foods is key to a thriving immune system. Eat a serving of fruit and vegetables at every meal. Some of the best options include blueberries, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Need help getting the proper amount of fruits and veggies in your diet? Try planning out your meals ahead of time. This will ensure that you are getting the right amount of servings. Wash, peel, and prep all food for easy snacking. Visit the farmers market for quality ingredients and try your hand at cooking a new recipe. Make it fun, and you’ll be more likely to eat these foods on a daily basis.
3. LIMIT SUGAR
Refined sugar can actually suppress your immune system. Make a concerted effort to limit or moderate your sugar intake, especially with the holidays approaching. You want to spend this time building your immune system with powerful, bacteria-fighting nutrients, not weakening it.
4. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Chronic stress also weakens your immune system. Too much cortisol, a stress hormone, lowers your ability to fight infection. The holiday season can be chaotic for many people. Try your best to get a handle on your stress levels before they begin.
You won’t find an article about good health practices that doesn’t mention exercise. It lowers your stress levels, increases endorphins, and gets you in better shape physically to fight off any colds or viruses. Exercise also helps clear out your lungs and airways, resulting in fewer infections and overall sickness. It’s a great habit to adopt and will only benefit your immune system in the long run.
6. INCREASE YOUR VITAMIN D
When life gets busy and the weather gets colder, spending time outside is one of the first things to go. Yet, vitamin D is a critical component in maintaining a healthy immune system. In fact, it’s actually responsible for facilitating normal immune system functioning. Make it a priority to get outside and soak up the sun. Not an option? Consider taking a vitamin D supplement or purchasing a lamp.
7. WATCH YOUR ALCOHOL
Alcohol has a negative effect on the immune system and makes you more susceptible to viruses and infections. Moderating your alcohol consumption is an important aspect in maintaining good health.
8. STAY HYDRATED
Similar to exercise and sleep, getting enough water is vital in all aspects of health- including your immune system. Drink the recommended amount of water per day and up your consumption if you feel a cold coming on. Drinking water flushes out your system and prevents colds and infections.
9. EAT MORE PROBIOTICS
Probiotics help strengthen your immune system by fighting against inflammation. They also reduce depression, clear up your skin, and promote heart health. If you’re looking for probiotic foods, consider yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha.
It’s true what they say- laughter really is the best medicine! Laughter helps your mood, reduces stress, and even boosts your heart rate. Recent studies claim that laughter can also raise the level of antibodies and improve your immune system. Plus, it’s fun!
The above tips are simple, straightforward, and effective ways to strengthen your immune system. Head in to the holidays feeling strong and ready for anything. You won’t regret it!