Cool weather brings a lot of indoor time, and with it colds and flu that pass between people almost as easily as words. Lost time from work and school due to illness always increases in the winter months, and no one likes being sick. There are lots of good, natural and easy ways to strengthen your system and boost immunity to bugs, though. Some are simple dietary or lifestyle changes, and some involve using supplements of herbs, vitamins or minerals. And these immunity boosters can (and should) be used year round.
- Get enough sleep – Everyone has different sleep requirements, but it’s important that you are getting what your own body needs to rest and repair itself. Most people require anywhere between six and ten hours of sleep every night. If you are depriving yourself of sleep, your body’s defenses will eventually become compromised.
- Get your exercise – Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can slack off. Your body needs and appreciates regular exercise, which helps fight germs. No one know exactly how this works, but it’s thought that increased respiration, blood circulation and sweating help to remove toxins, and germs, from your body.
- Enjoy lemon in your tea or water. It restores the pH balance to your body, which in turn supports healthy bacteria, but not viruses and gems. Apple cider vinegar will do the same thing, but doesn’t taste so great in your tea!
- Drink your water – Yes, this is a no-brainer, but it’s worthy of being repeated again and again. Your body is better able to fight off germs and infections when it is properly hydrated.
- Enjoy green tea – Green tea is said to strengthen immunity through it’s antioxidant compounds. It also stimulates your liver to secrete interferon, which is an immune compound.
- Eat plenty of protein – Because protein is an essential building block for your entire body, it works to keep your immune system strengthened by helping to produce and circulate white blood cells.
- Incorporate lots of raw fruits and vegetables into your diet – These contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to protect your body.
- Take Vitamin C – Better yet, eat foods that are rich in vitamin C. This vitamin has long been known for it’s immunity strengthening properties and can be found in supplemental form as well as foods such as citrus fruits.
- Use Echinacea – The effectiveness of Echinacea in fighting infection is still being debated, but many believe that it stimulates the anti-infection immune cells in the body and helps to increase the production of interferon. It should be taken regularly at the first signs of infection.
- Use Elderberry – Elderberries are full of compounds that fight viruses and prevent them from invading healthy cells. You can find liquid extract or syrup at your health food store and should take it regularly as soon as you notice that you are getting sick.
- Take Zinc – Zinc in an essential element to the body and is known to effectively fight infection. It should not however, be taken longer than five days.
- Take Ginseng – Ginseng is known to increase production of lymphocytes and interferon.
- Get fresh air – Even though it’s cold, go for a brisk walk around the block or help the kids build a snowman. Getting out in fresh air will help your body clear out toxins and impurities that have built up in stale, indoor air.
It’s always a good idea to cultivate immunity boosting habits, no matter what time of the year it is. Certainly, winter is cold and flu season, but germs can sneak up on you in the summer as well. Be prepared!