5 Great Ways to Boost Your Immunity
It's that time of year again. The weather is turning colder, leaves changing colors, school is back in session. We all know what is coming! Cold and flu season. We all want to avoid getting sick. Follow these 5 tips to keep your immune system strong...
1. Eat Clean Colorful Food.
At this time of year, we need to do everything we can to support our immune system. This means eating "clean" food. Eliminate processed food, sugary snacks, and fried foods. Replace them with colorful organic produce. If our immune system no longer has to fight off pesticides, free radicals, and chemicals it has a lot more power to fight off cold and flu viruses! The same substances that make fruits and vegetables colorful also make them great for our immune system. I could give you names like, lycopene, beta-carotene, and sulforaphane, but you don't need to worry about that! Just eat clean and colorful produce! There are hundreds of immunity boosting foods. Here are some of my favorites: Garlic, Broccoli, Kale, White Tea, Organic plain yogurt, and Oatmeal.
Even if we eat right all of the time (which none of us do!), we should still supplement our diet. There are many reasons that I take suppplements. First, most of us do not even know where our food is coming from, much less the nutrient content. Many studies suggest that the nutrient content in our food has declined significantly since the 1950's. (Here is one study...http://www.utexas.edu/news/2004/12/01/nr_chemistry/ ) Second, there are some vitamins that we simply do not produce enough of, for example Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and B Vitamins. We could all use more Vitamin C to build immunity, also. A third reason I supplement is because it makes me feel good. The vitamins that I just mentioned can significantly improve your mood, and we could all use that in the winter. I suggest taking a quality multivitamin made from sustainable whole food sources.
3. Keep moving.
We tend to get much less exercise in the winter because we are not outside as much, but this is exactly when we need exercise the most. There are several ways that exercise can help your immune system. First, it gets the blood pumping and this means antibodies are moving through your system and toxins are being eliminated more quickly. Second, exercise reduces stress. Stress is a major factor when it comes to getting sick. The more stress you have, the more vulnerable to illness you are. Third, bacteria that can easily hide out and grow in your lungs are flushed out during exercise. So, even though it is cold outside keep on moving, and most importantly HAVE SOME FUN!
4. Wash your hands.
Everyone knows this one.
5. Get enough sleep.
Studies show that lack of sleep produces the same effect on the immune system as stress. Poor sleep effects our body's ability to produce a specific type of white blood cell called a granulocyte. Granulocytes form part of our innate immune system. Experts say they have a broad-based immune activity - they are nonspecific. ( To read more on this study ...http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247320.php). The bottom line is that we need sleep to have a strong immune system.
Have a healthy fall!