For some of us, getting sick during the cold winter months is something that happens inevitably every year. However, there are those people who don’t seem to be affected by any of the typical winter’s illnesses. Their secret lies in their immune system, which they strengthen when the time is right. If you want to be one of these people, here are some ways for you to boost your immune system and avoid getting ill this winter.
Make your food work for you
Although it’s a general opinion that you can’t get any fresh seasonal food during winter, it’s actually not true. There are many options to choose from and you should try to base your diet on these healthy foods whenever possible. What your immune system needs to protect you properly are fruit and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals, as well as other foods rich in nutrients. Start with Brussels sprouts and some buttercup squash. They are low-fat, but contain a high amount of vitamin C. Similarly, leeks are loaded with vitamin A. If you like sweet potatoes, now’s the time to eat more of them than you normally do, as well as kale. They are both rich in vitamins C and A, but also potassium. The list continues with fruits like kiwi, oranges, grapefruit and other kinds of tropical fruit, but also lean protein, wholegrains, fish, nuts and seeds and legumes. Avoid fast food and anything with a lot of processed sugar or fats and your immune system will improve before you know it.
Stay hydrated for good health
About eight glasses of water a day is something that’s recommended no matter what season it is, but it’s even more important during winter. Due to the cold weather we sometimes forget to drink water, which can cost us our health. Water improves our immune system by encouraging lymph production, and lymph is what carries various immune system cells, including white blood cells. Furthermore, water helps our body eliminate toxins, it enables our cells to receive nutrients and allows us to concentrate better. If you’re fed up with plain water, infuse it with some lemon or any other citrus fruit, or brew some tea to improve your immune system. And if you want to add some vitamins and minerals to the equation, combine various fruit and vegetables and mix them into juices for you to drink.
Let superfoods come to your rescue
Along with regular winter foods and the proper liquid intake, you should also introduce some superfoods to your daily menu. They can be very helpful for your overall health, since some of them also fight flu, infection and inflammation. Add some olive oil to your fresh vegetable salad, throw in some chia seeds into your yogurt, or a few bits of ginger into your tea. And as far as tea is concerned, the best choices for winter are probably hibiscus, elderberry, lemon grass and chamomile, which are known for their good influence on your immune system. Spice your food with garlic, cinnamon or turmeric, and if none of them work, turn to high-quality blackseed oil with its antioxidant features to support your immune function. Finally, some ginseng might help you breathe better as well as improve your immune system.
Physical activity for an active immune system
Summer weather usually draws us outside to enjoy the sun, which is why being physically active is something natural during those few months. On the other hand, when it gets cold in winter, all you want to do is hibernate. You wrap ourselves in a warm, fluffy blanket and spend your days reading or binge-watching all sorts of TV shows. It’s comfortable indoors and you want to avoid the cold. Well, this is the worst mistake you can make. There’s nothing wrong with some cold. Step outside and work out to strengthen your immune system. Just put some warm clothes on and walk, run or even cycle for as long as you can. In case you still aren’t convinced about the cold being your friend, join a yoga or a fitness class or even a gym to work out regularly. Along with increasing your immune function, physical activity can boost your mood, lower stress and improve your overall health.
Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep can cause some damage to your organism and it’s never a good idea. It can make it difficult to remember things and focus, while ruining your good mood. And that’s not all. Unless you sleep enough, your immune system may suffer and your natural defense against viruses can get impaired. Avoid these issues by getting your eight hours’ sleep every night. Try going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time, even at weekends. Make sure your bed is comfortable, the room you sleep in is not too warm, but it should be dark and quiet. This way your sleep will actually count, since it will be restful and without any interruptions. Not only will your immune system benefit from quality sleep, but also your mental health.
You can’t be healthy unless you treat your body responsibly. As soon as you start doing what you can for your immune function, it will pay you back by keeping the annoying viruses as far from you as possible throughout winter.