The best defense against challenges this winter is to keep your immune system strong. Below are a handful of simple but powerful tips to improve overall immune function and keep you feeling your best all winter long.
Get your Sleep
Sleep gives your body the opportunity to heal and renew. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep (less than 6 hours per night) is linked to lowered immune function through the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Stress can be particularly high this time of year, and excessive stress lowers immune function and may leave you more vulnerable to infections like the flu.
Some great ways to manage stress include meditation, exercise, yoga, deep breathing and even a daily dose of laughter.
Avoid Sugary Snacks
Consuming sugar impairs your white blood cells from doing their job. Skip the processed, refined foods and focus more on a plant-based diet, 2/3 of which should consist of fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans. Need a sweetener? Consider local, raw honey or stevia.
Exercise gives the immune system a nice boost and releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Exercise also reduces fat, builds muscle and helps you maintain a healthy weight, which also improves immune function. Aim for 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 3-4 days per week.
A large portion of our immune system is located in your gut, so promoting healthy bacteria is crucial to overall immune function. Consider probiotic supplements. Vitamins A, C, D3 and zinc improves and supports overall immune function and keeps you healthy during the flu season. Medicinal mushrooms also can be incorporated into your diet to support our immune system.