You’re throwing on an extra blanket at night. Sturdy cold weather boots are pushing aside carefree summer sandals. There’s no denying it: winter is almost here, along with its nasty sidekick, cold and flu season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are millions of cases of the common cold each year, and the average adult catches two to three colds every year.
Now, we can’t guarantee that you won’t catch a dreadful winter bug, but you can up your odds of sidestepping the worst outcomes by boosting your immune system now.
Be proactive! Get your immune system in tip-top shape before the germy onslaught descends.
Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
Seek out foods rich in vitamins C and D, antioxidants, and zinc, which all help boost your immune system. Load up on citrus fruits, veggies such as broccoli, bell peppers, and dark leafy greens. Season with plenty of garlic, ginger, and turmeric. A balanced, wholesome diet can go a long way in keeping your body fueled and healthy. For more info on using food as medicine to treat health concerns, head to What Does ‘Using Food As Medicine’ Really Mean?
Yeah, we know you’ve heard this before, but we can’t stress the importance of adequate sleep for overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you're sleeping, your immune system releases cytokines, an essential protein responsible for immune system cell growth -- some of which protect your body from infection. When you're sick, you need more of these cytokines, and if you're not getting enough sleep, you may not be producing enough cytokines. Simply put, lack of sleep can make you sick. For helpful tips, read 5 Sleep-Hacks for Better Rest.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
You know that jug of water that you’re faithfully chugging throughout the day? Besides making you pee, it also keeps your blood pumping and helps your immune function. According to the University of California, Irvine, water aids in transporting nutrients throughout your body, including essential ones for fighting off infections. Proper hydration also keeps all your organs functioning properly, and when your body is running efficiently — including your immune system — you're less likely to catch the bug du jour.
Like sleep, physical activity is a non-negotiable component of a healthy lifestyle, plus it goes a long way in supporting your immune system. Studies show that moderate exercise can increase the circulation of your immune cells. When your immune cells are properly moving through your body, they can better protect you from infection. For a bit of inspo to get you moving and grooving, head to 7 Surprising Benefits of Exercise.
This is always great advice, but it’s essential during cold and flu season. That’s because stress impacts your immune system, making it tougher to fight infection. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when you're stressed out, your body produces fewer lymphocytes — white blood cells that boost immunity. On top of that, stress can increase your cortisol levels, which can lead to inflammation and a dip in immune levels. For commonsense stress-busting advice, read 4 Ways to Stress Less This Fall.
Remember #1? Well, sometimes we need a little help rounding out our healthy diet. Zinc has been proven to keep bacteria and fungi from entering your body. Vitamin D functions much the same, and a vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of flu and infection. Vitamin C is another essential antioxidant that helps your immune cells, protects the body from infection, and keeps new immune cells growing. For more tips, read Supplements For Immune Health. Did you know that a whopping 70 percent of the immune system resides in your gut? That’s why it’s also important to take care of your gut health. Get all the deets here.
We encourage you to play a proactive role in your health, whatever the season. Take a moment to browse our website, featuring a myriad of blogs discussing how diet and lifestyle choices impact health. And while you’re there, discover our complete line of digestive products that your immune system (and the rest of your body!) will love.
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