Boost your immune for the winter months
Do you find that you get sick more often in the winter than during other times of the year? Winter and cold temperatures can be challenging for our bodies, and staying indoors and in closer proximity to other people makes it easier for germs to spread.
The immune system is your body’s natural defence system which consists of networks of cells, tissues, and organs that protect your body against pathogens. Some of the common invaders that the immune system defends the body against include viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
Although your immune systems work hard all year long, giving it a boost in the winter season can help you minimize your chances of getting sick this winter. In this article, we will discuss some of the most effective ways to boost your immune system during the winter months.
- Get enough vitamin D
The skin produces vitamin D during exposure to sunlight, and it can also be obtained from foods such as fatty fish and egg yolks. Vitamin D is important in regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, helping to maintain healthy teeth, bones, and muscles.
In addition, vitamin D can regulate the immune response, helping to boost the immune system during the cold and flu season. In addition, many people often feel tired and sluggish during winter due to a lack of sunlight, which is important in regulating our sleeping and waking cycles.
If you feel that you are not getting enough sunlight in the winter, taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter can help you stay healthy during the cold season.
- Stay active
It can be difficult to resist your body’s natural urge to hibernate the winter months away, however regular physical activity is a great way to boost your immune system and stay healthy.
According to new scientific studies, physical activity can help to remove harmful bacteria and viruses from the lungs and airways. In turn, this can reduce your chance of getting air-borne pathogens, such as cold and flu viruses.
Exercise also strengthens your body and reduces the release of stress hormones, which have been linked to getting sick more often.
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet
Eating healthy food can help to boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick during the cold months of the year.
Although you may be tempted to eat calorie-rich foods in the colder temperatures, it is also important to consume fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your body supplied with necessary vitamins and minerals.
Consuming fruits high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruit and kiwis is a great way to increase your intake of this vitamin during the winter. Medical research shows that vitamin C can help to improve immune function and that it can be effective both in the prevention and treatment of the common cold virus.
- Get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 are fatty acids that are necessary for many functions and processes in the body. These fatty acids act as important structural components of cell membranes and play a role in regulating blood pressure and inflammatory processes.
In addition, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids regulate immune function and associated inflammatory processes. The human body can produce all of the fatty acids except alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid.
Natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. In addition, natural sources of omega-6 fatty acids include safflower oil, sunflower oil, walnuts, and evening primrose seed.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep plays an important role in regulating many of the body’s processes, including memory consolidation and regulating immune system function. Getting enough sleep has been scientifically demonstrated to help prevent infections.
On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation decreases immune function and levels of immune cells such as lymphocytes, which can increase our risk for getting sick. Lower lymphocyte levels have been shown to increase our susceptibility to infections such as the common cold and cold sores.
- Keep your stress levels in check
According to scientific research, psychological stress can suppress the immune system function, increasing our likelihood of getting infections.
Therefore, it is important to manage your stress levels to maintain optimal immune system function, especially in the winter. Some of the most effective ways to reduce stress levels include aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, cross-country skiing, or skating.
In addition, regular yoga and meditation practice can also serve as a great tool to reduce the feelings of psychological stress.