Well, it’s that time of year again! Cold and flu season, of course. I’m sure you’ve already seen people around you sniffling, coughing and sneezing. Hopefully you haven’t been one of them! If you want take charge of your immune system this year, I’ve got 15 natural ways to give it a major BOOST! We’re going to break it down into 3 categories: lifestyle practices, diet and supplements. Let’s get started!
- EXERCISE – You knew I was going to say this, didn’t you? Well, it’s true. Regular exercise gives a major boost to your immune system and makes you much less likely to get the bad stuff than someone who is sedentary. Exercise supports our detox organs and keeps our lymph moving. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walks, a yoga class or weight lifting, at least 3 days a week. If you’re over 40, I would suggest 5 days per week. Make sure you work up a sweat daily.
- GET OUTSIDE – This may not be a hard sell right now with the cooler temperatures finally here. But with the days getting shorter you may be tempted to go straight to work and back again without spending much time outside. Take your coffee out on the patio before work or take your lunch to the park. Walk the dogs when you get home. Just getting fresh air and sunshine will definitely give your system a boost.
- SLEEP – One of the greatest tools for stress reduction and immune support is our glorious sleep! Shoot for at least 8 hours per night. But you knew that, already. Keep trying and make it a priority!
- LIMIT ALCOHOL – Be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Too much, depresses the immune system which can obviously make you more susceptible to getting sick. Think about cutting out drinking during the weekdays. Just a thought!
- HAND WASHING – You’ve heard it a million times but I’ll say it again. Wash your hands often. Especially after touching your phone or computer. Also, I feel it’s better to actually wash your hands as opposed to overusing the hand sanitizer. Just a personal preference.
Immune System Support with Diet
- Increase Veggie & Fruit intake – I think this gets a little harder to do as the fresh produce goes out of season. But don’t despair! Actually there are plenty of cooked fruits and veggies that are just as healthy for you as the fresh. And actually some vitamins and minerals in food are more easily absorbed by the body after being cooked. Examples of this are: pumpkin, sweet potato, tomatoes, green leaf veggies.
- Use More Spices – This is the perfect time to increase your use of yummy spices in your cooking. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, ginger, turmeric (my yummy turmeric latte is here) all have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. They are said to be effective in treating and helping prevent mild colds & infection.
- Dark Chocolate – Well, I’m not sure if this will prevent the flu but we may as well add in some dark chocolate as a precaution! Lol! I honestly, eat some EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Seriously though, dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao is positively loaded with anti-oxidants. And these anti-oxidants are what fight off free radicals in our bodies. This in turn, reduces inflammation. Sign me up!
- Add More Garlic & Onions – With all the soups and warm dishes of the season, be sure to liberally use plenty of garlic and onions. These two are loaded with anti-microbial properties. Also, if I ever feel like I’m getting sick, I’ll put some raw minced garlic on a spoon and swallow it. Chase it down with some water. May be an old wives’ tale but I swear there’s something to it!
- Stay Hydrated – It’s easy to forget to drink your water when the weather cools off, but we must stay hydrated. Try to go easy on the caffeinated drinks and keep your water bottle close by. Our immune systems need clean, fresh water to do their jobs of keeping us healthy and protected.
Immune Boosting Supplements
- Immune Boosting Drinks – Making sure we have plenty of bone broth, turmeric lattes, green and herbal teas, and green juice will be easy ways to get in lots of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that will definitely be immune boosters. I love all of these!
- Probiotics – It might be a good idea to increase our dose of healthy bacteria to help detox and to regulate our immune system. At the very least, getting in a good quality yogurt seems like a good idea. I personally love yogurt so this is an easy one for me.
- Multi-Vitamin – I typically recommend to my clients that they take a good, well-rounded multi-vitamin. I suggest a food-based vitamin over synthetic vitamins. They seem easier to digest, and come from actual food not something in a lab. My current favorite is this one by Rainbow Light (click image to find it on Amazon)
- Super Food Powders – I’m not a huge supplement fan other than a basic multi-vitamin but I do feel that adding in some green food powder, or other super food powders made from real food can be a good idea. If I use these, I add them to my morning smoothie.
- Dried Fruit – While this isn’t really a supplement, I like adding in dried fruit such as plums/prunes and apricots during the fall and winter. They’re easy to keep on hand and are packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Plus, they can help keep your bathroom habit regular which is vital for detoxing the body and minimizing illness.
Hopefully I’ve given you a few new ideas to try this fall/winter. I want you guys to stay healthy and vibrant, so take charge of your habits! What are some things you do to boost your immune system? Please COMMENT below!
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