If you’ve ever wondered how to boost your immune system during winter, then you’re not alone. A healthy immune system is important all year long but especially during cold and flu season. Luckily, there are several healthy habits that can help strengthen your immune system naturally all winter long.
9 Healthy Habits That Boost Your Immune System In Winter
Start The Day With Lemon Water
Fresh lemons are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. And you likely already know vitamin C is important for immune health but so is staying hydrated (more on that later). So a great way to increase your vitamin C intake and boost hydration is to squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning.
Keep Up Your Active Lifestyle
When it starts to get colder outside, it’s easy to give into the temptation to stay cozy in the house. But falling out of your exercise routine can have a negative effect on your immune health. Plenty of research shows that regular moderate exercise can reduce your risk of getting sick. So aim to move your body at least 30 minutes a day, whether that’s a workout class or just a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
The connection between quality sleep and immune health is no secret. Sleep is when your body goes through its main detoxification and restoration processes, which are vital in keeping your immune system healthy and happy. In addition, not getting enough sleep leads to feeling sluggish and run down during the day, which makes you more likely to reach for processed, sugary foods throughout the day.
Ditch Processed Sugary Foods
Refined sugars have been shown to increase inflammation in the body, which has an adverse effect on your body’s ability to heal if you get sick. And a diet high in processed, low-nutrient foods compromises your immune system and overall health.
Prioritize Nutrient-Dense Foods
A properly nourished immune system is a strong immune system. So now is the time to make an extra effort to eat a varied diet full of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Seasonal foods are ideal as they are often high in exactly the nutrients your immune system needs this time of year. Nature is pretty smart in that way. Take a look at the list of immune-boosting foods below and try to incorporate them into your daily diet.
It can be easier to let yourself get dehydrated during winter, which might not seem like such a big deal. But proper hydration is required to produce lymph, which is vital for carrying white blood cells and other immune system cells throughout the body. So even though you aren’t sweating as much during winter, be sure to keep up on your water intake.
Gut health and immune health are closely linked, with about 70% of your immune system residing in the gut. That means supporting your gut health by including probiotics in your diet is a great way to support your immune function, too. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are all rich in probiotics. Or try adding a probiotic supplement into your routine.
Air Out Your Home Regularly
When it’s cold out, it might seem crazy to open the windows. But without good air circulation, germs can linger in the air for a long time. Opening your windows for even 10-15 minutes a day can go a long way to cleaning out the air in your home. Keeping houseplants like aloe vera, spider plants, and peace lillies are another good option for cleaning the air indoors.
Double Down On Self Care
Most of the tips above can be considered part of regular self-care, from prioritizing sleep and exercise to eating a high quality diet. This time of year, it’s important to be consistent with the lifestyle habits that keep your body functioning properly and keep chronic stress at bay. It takes a little extra effort, but it’s worth feeling more vibrant and healthy all winter long.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.