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It’s that time of year again when everyone around you seems to be coughing and blowing their noses.
Although germs and viruses are always around us, it seems that some people catch everything whereas other people rarely get sick.
This is not a coincidence.
There are certain things you can do to boost your immune system naturally and help you stay healthy all year.
Avoid a dreaded cold this winter with these 9 ways to boost your immune system naturally.
If you have an underlying medical condition, it’s especially important to try your best to boost your immune system.
Boost Your Immune System Naturally
- Prioritize Sleep
- Get Outdoors
- Increase Vitamin D
- Reduce Your Stress
- Avoid Highly Crowded Places During Peak Times
- Drink More Water
- Wash Your Hands
Adequate rest is so important for our body to work properly. When you’re running on empty and not sleeping enough, your body will struggle to fight off infections and viruses.
While you sleep your body releases cells called cytokines which fight infection. Those who don’t sleep enough don’t produce as many cytokines.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep or high-quality sleep are more prone to infection after exposure (MayoClinic).
Prioritize your sleep and try to get at least 7-9 hours each night. Turn off Netflix and head to bed earlier.
Bundle up, and spend some time outdoors all year. Time outdoors has been shown to increase your t-cell production. These are special cells that help fight off viruses.
Also, many outdoor plants release substances that actually improve our immune systems too (WebMD).
Dress warmly and try to get outdoors all winter.
Take Your Vitamin D
A lot of studies have linked low vitamin D levels with a weakened immune system (ScienceDaily).
The number one source of Vitamin D is natural sunlight, but for those of us living up north, we don’t have strong enough rays to get vitamin d during the winter months.
Aim for about 2,000 IU of Vitamin D per day to keep your Vitamin D in a healthy range. If you’re an avid milk drinker, you may be getting a lot of Vitamin D from milk.
Otherwise, buy an over the counter supplement to increase your Vitamin D level. I love this Vitamin D which is from a company with high standards and high quality.
What you eat matters more than you may realize. A diet high in fruits and vegetables helps you out more than just by keeping weight off.
A well-balanced diet also provides your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help fight off infection.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the benefits of Vitamin C and the immune system.
At the first signs of a cold or exposure to a cold, go ahead and ramp up your Vitamin C intake.
Vitamin C is naturally occurring in many foods including citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), peppers, broccoli, kale, apples, and more.
Also, zinc is another essential mineral that works well with Vitamin C. Foods high in zinc include meats, beans, legumes, and pumpkin seeds.
Manage Your Stress
I know this is easier said than done, but high-stress levels have a huge negative impact on your immune system.
When you live in a constant state of stress, your body is actually living in a “fight or flight” state. Your body is producing loads of cortisol which reduces your white blood cells (the cells responsible for fighting infection).
Try to prioritize your health and try some of these stress management techniques.
Avoid Highly Crowded Places at Peak Times
You don’t have to avoid the public all winter long, but be smart about what you expose yourself too.
If you’re already feeling run down and exhausted, it’s probably a good idea to skip the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon.
Also, during times of high virus activity like right now, it’s best to minimize your exposure to other sick people and crowds as much as possible.
Replace your weekly grocery shopping with home delivery options such as Thrive Market.
Thrive Market offers affordable organic products and cleaning products that are delivered right to your door.
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Supplement this with a local produce delivery from your grocery store and you’ll be able to avoid the germy stores completely.
Studies have shown that moderate-intensity exercise provides benefits to your immune system.
Exercise increases the circulation of your white blood cells so they’re able to respond quickly to an infection (MedlinePlus).
Moderate-intensity exercises include going for a bike ride, walking at a moderate pace.
If you’re avoiding the gym right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all.
Throw on your workout clothes and turn on YouTube for home workout ideas. Check out my favorite YouTube workout channels for ideas to get started.
You’ve heard me say it a thousand times by now, but drinking more water is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Your body relies on water to function optimally. Every cell in your body requires water.
Drink up for a healthier immune system. Aim for 64 ounces per day if possible.
Wash Your Hands
I’m sure this one is obvious, but it can’t be stated enough. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection is through good handwashing.
Plain old soap and warm water for 20 seconds is the most effective technique to prevent the spread of infection.
Wash your hands before eating or drinking anything, before prepping food, after any potential exposures to sick people, or before touching your face or your nose.
Teach your kids to wash their hands too to help your whole family stay healthy.
Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Apply these techniques and you’ll be smooth sailing through cold and flu season. I hope you stay healthy all season and avoid any viruses.