5 Ways to Boost Immunity this winter

5 Ways to Boost Immunity this winter

5 Ways to Boost Immunity this winter

A healthy immune system equals a healthy body! Have you noticed when you are run down, traveling, eating poorly, and not getting enough sleep, you start to feel your body shutting down? That's because your white blood cells need fuel to help fight off infection. The human immune system is our protector — and it's our job to make sure we are giving it everything it needs to do so. Unfortunately, viruses reproduce faster and better in low temperatures, which is why they flourish in wintertime. No need to worry, we have five ways you can help boost your immune system this season, so you can combat any icky germs that come your way.

Nourish your body with a healthy diet

Going through a fast-food drive-through or heating up a frozen meal is not enough nutrients for your immune system that is working 24/7! In fact, eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. A healthy diet can help ensure you're getting enough amounts of the micronutrients that play a role in maintaining your body's defense. Getting nutrients straight from the food source is the best way to absorb vitamins more efficiently. Here are some fruits and veggies you can put in your diet to fuel those hardworking cells. 

  • Oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach all have incredible amounts of vitamin C, the primary fuel source for your immune system
  • Bananas, greens, and potatoes (with the skin) are excellent sources of Vitamin B
  • Almonds, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, & peanut butter are high in vitamin E 
  • Some mushroom varieties -- such as shiitake -- may also help your immune system
  • Spices like ginger, tumeric, & cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory properties

Sleep Sleep Sleep

    You'd be surprised how much your body works when you are not even awake! When you are asleep, this is your body's primary time to recover from all you put it through the day before. For instance, critical infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep. Not getting enough rest can lead to higher stress hormone levels, leading to more inflammation in your body. Sometimes it's hard to put yourself to bed when there is so much going on in your head. But your body will thank you. 7-9 hours has been proven to be the best amount of sleep to keep your immune system strong and healthy.

    Have a good exercise routine

      Believe it or not, working out is not just for looking good in your summer bathing suit! Physical activity plays a key role in keeping your immune system healthy. One way exercises it helps your immune response is by boosting your overall circulation. This makes it easier for your white blood cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more efficiently throughout your body. Moving your body also boosts your body's feel-good chemicals and helps you sleep better at night. It's a win/win all around. Try getting 30 minutes of exercise a day!

      Drink MORE water

        Are you still reaching for that soda?? While it may taste good in the moment its not helping hydrate your body, which is made up of 60 percent water. Fun fact: a fluid in your circulatory system called lymph carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body, and it is also primarily made up of water. That's why being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph and can lead to a weakened immune system. Drinking water also helps flush out harmful toxins in your body. Learn more about how much water you or your children need to be drinking a day here.

        Take control of your anxiety and stress

          Everyone has had to deal with stress and anxiety in their life. How does that affect your health, though? Good question. During stress, your body responds to it by initiating what's called a stress response. It's meant to help you handle the stressful situations coming your way. Great right? Well, there's a downside to that as well. Unfortunately, this response also suppresses your immune system — increasing your chance of infection or illness. While we can't always just poof the stress away, we can learn how to handle it. Things like meditating, reading, journaling, learning breathing techniques, putting your phone away, having a good nighttime routine all can help reduce the buildup of stress. Just learn what works best for you!