As winter quickly approaches, illnesses are sure to follow - unless you follow these ways to winter proof your immune system ASAP! When it comes to keeping your immune system healthy, there are many preventive steps that you can take to feel your best all winter long. A healthy diet is crucial to staying healthy during the cold winter months. Instead of catching a cold or flu, incorporate these ways to winter proof your immune system for a healthy body all winter long.
1. Vitamins a, C, and E
One of the best ways to winter proof your immune system is to eat a healthy diet high in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, C and E are all great sources of antioxidants which help strengthen your immune system. You can find these vitamins in most plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. More specifically, Vitamin A is found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, kale and watermelon. Find Vitamin C in oranges, mangos, berries, bell peppers and leafy greens. Get your Vitamin E in foods like broccoli, carrots, nuts and sunflower seeds for a healthy immune system all winter long!
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another vitamin that is equally important for immune health. Vitamin D has been shown strengthen our immune system, thus helping protect us against many different infections and disease. You can find Vitamin D in foods like salmon, mushrooms, fortified foods and egg yolks. Another great source of Vitamin D is natural sunlight - depending on the season, time of day, and location, get outside as often as you can!
3. Omega 3s
Omega-3s are crucial for a healthy winter for many reasons! Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that your body cannot produce and thus must be supplied by your diet. Omega-3s act as an anti-inflammatory, preventing the spread of inflammation throughout the body.
Like the other seasons of the year, staying hydrated is of upmost importance during the winter months too! Water helps carry bacteria, infection and any other foreign substance out of the body. Not only that, but it also helps increase the production of lymph which carry immune fighting white blood cells. It's easy to become dehydrated during the winter months especially because you may not feel thirsty or sweat because it is cold outside. Don't listen to your body's cues - trust your hydration knowledge instead!
Getting enough shut eye is one of the most important factors in staying healthy this winter. When you don't get enough sleep, your immune system is one of the first to suffer. Getting between 7-8 hours of sleep helps your immune system function properly, allowing it to fight off not only the common cold but bacterial infections as well. It's never too late to get enough sleep either; getting adequate sleep during an illness can help lessen its negative effects!
You might not think of exercise when thinking of ways to improve your immune system, but keeping a consistent exercise schedule is a great way to stay healthy all winter long. Exercise will not only help you fend off unwanted pounds, but it will also help you sleep better at night, which as shown above is important for a healthy immune system as well!
7. Anti Antibiotics and Pro Probiotics
When possible, reach for antibiotics last. Antibiotics kill not only the unhealthy, illness causing bacteria but they also kill the healthy bacteria that your digestive system needs too. Roughly 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system, therefore, the more healthy bacteria that is killed off, the weaker your immune system comes. When you do have to take antibiotics, be sure to up your probiotic intake as well. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in your gut, improving immune function. You can find probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
There is no need to get sick this winter - eat a healthy diet, exercise and get plenty of rest and your immune system will stand on full guard against any harmful invaders. How will you fight off the flu in these next few winter months?