This original article was first published here: 5 Ways to Boost Immune Health as Winter Approaches
As the temperature starts to drop and winter approaches, it’s more important than ever to take steps to boost your immune system. A super strong immune system is your best defense against the cold and flu season. By following these relatively simple tips, you can keep your immune system strong all winter long.
Get Plenty of Sleep
One of the top ways to boost your immune system is to get enough sleep. Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. If you lack enough quality sleep, your body won’t be able to function at its best, and you’ll be at an increased risk of getting sick. Make sure you’re getting enough rest by going to bed at a reasonable hour and staying away from electronic screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. When we sleep, our bodies naturally produce more infection-fighting cells and proteins. So, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to fighting off illness.
Getting quality sleep can be difficult, so it is important to develop good sleep habits. Establishing a regular bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and get some rest. Creating a calm and soothing environment within your bedroom can also help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you consume has a big impact on your overall health, and your immune system is no exception. Eating a diet that’s high in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats will aid your immune health. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of alcohol, which can weaken your immune system.
The average American diet is extremely high in sugar and refined carbs, which can lead to inflammation throughout the body. This can make you more at risk for illness. Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks, and replacing them with nutritious options, can help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. Consuming vast amounts of alcohol regularly can also weaken your immune system. If you do drink alcohol, moderation is key. For men, that means no more than two drinks per day. For women, it’s one drink per day.
If your diet is not as nutritious as it could be, taking a dietary supplement could be a good way to cover any gaps in your diet. Common supplements for the immune system are vitamin C, vitamin D, and elderberry. Maintaining adequate levels of these vitamins and incorporating supplements into your daily routine can be difficult for some, but gummy vitamins might make it easier. While they may not be the body’s preferred form, gummy vitamins offer a delicious way to get the nutrients you need without taking pills.
Elderberry gummies are a great way to get an immune boost, since elderberry is known for its ability to fight off illness. When taking elderberry gummies, be sure to look for a supplement brand that is organic, gluten-free, lacks artificial flavors, and is free of added sugars.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and is another good dietary supplement for keeping your immune system strong. Getting enough vitamin D will help regulate the immune system and has been shown to lessen the chance of upper respiratory infections, like the cold and flu. Maintaining adequate vitamin D levels from sun exposure and diet alone can be difficult, so taking a supplement is often necessary to reach the recommended daily amount. Vitamin D3 1000 iu is a dose that should be enough to help with immune support.
Exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy immune response. When you exercise, you increase your body’s production of white blood cells, which help fight off infection. A moderate amount of exercise is the key – too much can actually have the opposite effect and weaken your immune system.
Research has shown, on average, a person needs about 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, five days a week to maintain a healthy immune system. If you’re not used to exercising, start slowly and gradually increasing the amount and intensity of your workouts.
Reduce Stress Levels
Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your health and make you more susceptible to illness. To reduce stress levels, make sure you’re taking time for yourself every day to relax and do things you enjoy outside of work or school. Yoga, meditation, and spending time outdoors are all great ways to reduce stress levels and boost your immunity.
Vast amounts of stress have been proven to have a direct impact on the immune system. When you’re stressed, naturally, your body produces cortisol, which can suppress the immune system. This puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Reducing cortisol levels can help improve your immune system function.
One of the most efficient ways to protect yourself during flu season is to get vaccinated against the flu virus each year. The flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, but it’s still the best way to decrease your chances of getting sick during the winter months when illnesses like the flu are most common.
Studies show that the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40% to 60%. It’s especially important for people at high risk of developing complications from the flu, like young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions.
Winter is fast approaching which means it’s time to start thinking about boosting your immunity. By following these simple tips, you can keep yourself healthy all season long despite the colder temperatures and increased illnesses that are common this time of year. So don’t wait; start making some changes today to keep yourself feeling great all winter long.
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