How to Keep a Healthy Immune System This Winter
Winter will be here before we know it, which means a higher influx of cold and flu germs. According to the CDC, flu season begins in October in most areas and can last all the way through the month of May. If you have not started boosting your immune system to help fight against these illnesses, now is the best time to start.
Follow a Clean Eating Diet
Clean eating seems like the latest diet trend, but it is actually a great way to stay healthy. Clean eating simply means eating foods from their source and eliminating processed foods. Instead of eating strawberry flavored foods, opt for the real thing, for example. Your focus should be on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These clean foods will provide your body the essential vitamins that are necessary for a healthy immune system including Vitamins A, C, D, and E. In fact, a study published by the Nutrition Journal, showed that eating processed foods not only deprive your body of necessary vitamins, but also made it more prone to infection and inflammation, decreasing the health of your immune system.
Exercise is good for many reasons, but keeping your immune system healthy is one of the largest reasons. Studies have been conducted on the status of various white blood cells of those that exercise and those that do not. The people that exercised had better functioning white blood cells, which researchers know is crucial for a healthy body. Exercise does not have to be anything rigorous or well structured; even just walking 3 times a week at a decent pace will boost the white blood cell count and assist in keeping you healthy.
Get some Sunlight
It’s common knowledge that we have less sun exposure in the winter months, but what many people do not realize is what that diminished sun exposure does to their immune system. A lack of Vitamin D can be equal to a suffering immune system. It is worth having your levels checked by your doctor to see if your levels are within the normal range of 20 to 50 nanograms/milliliter. If your levels are low, the best way to boost them is with 20 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight every day.
Eat only High Quality Omega 3s
Essential fats are crucial to the strengthening of your immune system. Eating the right type and proper amount of these nutrients can help to keep your cells functioning properly which decreases the stress on your body and helps you to stay healthy overall. Unfortunately, not all Omega 3s are created equally. You need to consume them in their purest form, which means getting them from fresh fish. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of 2 servings of cold-water fish per week in order to keep your Omega 3 levels up, boosting your immune system as well as your cardiovascular system at the same time.
See a Chiropractor
It might not seem beneficial to see a chiropractor during flu season, but it can help. A chiropractor can help with any subluxations that are present in the spine. This compression in the spine causes a communication mishap between the brain and nerve cells. When the body is out of alignment like that, the immune system suffers. Regular chiropractic appointments at least during the winter months can help to fight that risk as well as keep you able to remain active which is another way to fight the flu.
Take Time for You
Life can get stressful, but that does not mean you have to give into it all of the time. Take regular time for yourself, especially during the winter months. Double up on your ability to boost your immune system, by sitting by a window free from window treatments, soaking in the sun while reading a book or take a nice, long walk outside for 30 minutes to clear your head and get your Vitamin D at the same time. Even if you don’t double up, make sure to take time for yourself every day, even if it is just 20 minutes to let your mind unwind – your immune system needs you to release your stress in order to function properly.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
There is such a thing as too much sleep as well as not enough sleep. For most, 7 hours is the magic number that you should try to hit every night. If you are not getting 7 hours, chances are you are overworking your body and your mind, which means stress could be dragging your immune system down. Make a new routine this winter; take time for yourself at the end of the night by taking a warm bath, taking a walk, or reading a book. Let your mind settle down for a little while before trying to settle in for the night. Chances are you will sleep better and will feel better overall.
There is no foolproof way to ensure that you will not get the flu this year, but why take a chance? If you maximize your body’s ability to strengthen your immune system, you will lower your chances at best. In the end, even if you do get the flu, your body will be healthier and better able to fight the germs so at least you won’t have to feel as sick as you could have if you did not take the right steps to boost your immune system.
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