Winter months can be stressful times of year, but building a bit of immunity makes things a bit easier. This is a great time to start incorporating certain habits that will build up your immunity and help you to remain healthy throughout the winter months. Research has also shown that exercising in the winter months may help to guard against illnesses and increase your immune system.
Exercise may also help you get better sleep, which we already know is a critical component to improving immune function. The best ways to strengthen your immune system are by staying hydrated, getting a good nights sleep, eating healthy, reducing stress, and staying active. Eating the right foods, taking the right vitamins, and living a healthy lifestyle can all help to strengthen your immune system.
Maintaining a healthy diet keeps the immune system balanced and ready to fight off infections and viruses, so getting the proper nutrients should be the number one priority of your daily eating habits. A well-rounded diet will provide the vitamins that are needed to make sure that your immune cells have the tools they need to combat infections. Seeking foods rich in the nutrients mentioned above--vitamins C and D, as well as zinc--can benefit your immune system.
Foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants have immune-boosting properties, in addition to being capable of fighting off disease-causing free radicals and inflammation within your body. Vitamin C is another essential antioxidant that can help your immune cells continue their job of keeping you healthy. Including foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help boost your immune system and improve overall health naturally.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient your body needs to fight off foreign organisms such as germs, and you can get a source of it via dietary supplements. You can also maximise vitamin D consumption with supplements and food sources such as mushrooms, eggs, and cheese (though getting enough just from food may be challenging). A multi-vitamin may be really useful to help your immune system all year long, says Dr. Mykles, although she adds that people already following a well-balanced diet might not need one.
Simple changes in everyday life can help provide the immune system with what it needs to fight off infections and diseases, so that you can stop the germs and bacteria before they can infiltrate. An immune system that is functioning correctly can help keep colds and flus at bay, and can also keep you safe from chronic, serious diseases such as type-2 diabetes and cancer. By increasing your blood flow, exercise helps stimulate production of white blood cells, which protect your body against illness.
Doctors think that exercise can boost immunity, too, perhaps by helping flush out bacteria in your lungs and airways, or causing changes in antibodies and white blood cells. Especially during the winter, even easy exercise, including walking, jogging, running, pushing-ups, or yoga, may help keep you body warm and healthy. It is also not a bad idea to focus on certain foods proven to have immune-boosting properties, says Glassman, such as fruits and vegetables that contain a particularly high concentration of vitamin C. He recommends bell peppers, citrus fruits, and muscaria mushrooms.