For me, November officially marks the beginning of “sick season”. Along with the holidays comes the germs! In fact, we are currently spending Halloween low-key hunkered down as our 14 month old is recovering from RSV. With the pandemic and emergence of COVID-19, the past 18 months have taught us how to “social distance”....but instead of merely avoiding the germs, how about we BOOST our army of defense by strengthening our immune system?? Here's 7 ways you can increase your immunity this year to hopefully avoid getting sick.
Nutrition!!! This is probably one of the BIGGEST things you can do to help your immunity. Choosing foods that are dense in micronutrients (think vitamins and minerals!) will help your body battle any bug it comes across best. Foods that are full of micronutrients include fruits, vegetables, and many protein sources. Anything processed strips foods of many of their natural nutrients. Ensuring you consume adequate protein is also essential to staying healthy, as protein is what aids in repair and restoration. Our nutrition plans at Fueled4Wellness can be a great 1st step towards improving your nutrition for a strong immune system!
Sleep – This is probably the thing I struggle with the most. And a big part of this is due to my earlier mentioned 14 month old who STILL gets up multiple times each night. ;) Sleep is important to staying healthy because a tired body = a tired immune system = your body won't be able to fight off germs as effectively. For some great tips on how to get good quality sleep, check our sleep blog.
Improve your Gut Health – Did you know that up to 80% of the cells that make up our immune system actually live in our gut?? Giving our gut the right balance of “good” bacteria can help our immune systems immensely! A few things we can do to maintain great gut health include taking a daily probiotic, eating adequate fiber, and limiting sugar intake.
Vitamin C – I'm sure we've all been told that Vitamin C helps bust colds. If Vitamin C levels get low, our immune system becomes suppressed, increasing our risk of infection. Taking a daily dose of Vitamin C each day during cold and flu season can help ward off getting sick. This can be done by taking a supplement, or even better, by eating foods rich in Vitamin C – citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, leafy greens, potatoes, tomatoes, squash.
Be ACTIVE! I can't stress this one enough. Activity greatly improves the immune system and our body's ability to respond to different bugs that may attack. Aim for 30 minutes each day of intentional exercise. Not only will this boost your immunity, there are so many other benefits of exercise too – including weight loss, muscle tone, and mental health!
Get OUTSIDE! The sun, which gives us Vitamin D is so important to our immune system. Vitamin D helps our bodies to produce antibodies, which are our immune system's defense mechanism to reduce infection. Just getting outside for a mere 10 minutes a day will do wonders for you Vitamin D levels and our immune system. And I know that I always feel mentally better when I get a daily dose of being outside. During the winter months, it's not a bad idea to supplement with a daily dose of Vitamin D as well, since the days are shorter, the weather is chillier, and we don't get as much time outside as we do during other months.
Reduce Stress – High levels of stress of any kind – emotional, physical, psychological – can damage our immune system and increase chances of getting sick. Taking time to relax each day can do wonders for our stress levels, and in turn our immune system. Try to have at least 10 minutes each day of “self-love” where you can unwind. This could be meditation, reading a book, taking a stroll, or enjoying a bubble bath. Being intentional about de-stressing can do wonders for our stress levels, and in turn, our immune system.
There you have it! Seven tips on how we can increase our defense against germs this cold and flu season! With proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise, we can help our immune system be the strongest it can be. Cheers to a happy and HEALTH holiday season this year!