The fall season is a beautiful time of year, with colorful leaves and bright, red apples ripe for the picking. Yet, the brisk, cool mornings remind us that this is also the time of year where sniffling, runny noses and chest-racking coughs await us around every corner. Lucky for you, your body came with a built-in protection service, otherwise known as your immune system. To avoid catching the next cold or flu, follow these tips to strengthen and boost your immune system.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet is key to supporting our immune system. You want to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure you are getting all of your essential nutrients including protein, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, and vitamins A, C, E, D, and B. Eating antioxidant-rich foods like red peppers, carrots, pumpkin, mango, and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables are particularly good for boosting your immune system.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Start your day of right and eat breakfast. While staying tucked warm in your bed an extra ten minutes may sound like heaven, breakfast provides essential nutrients needed to help your immune system throughout the day. If your short on time in the morning, try making a breakfast smoothie the night before.
Cut Back on Sugar, Stress, And Caffeine
What do sugar, stress, and caffeine all have in common? They all affect your blood sugar levels. The more energy your body has to spend on regulating and rebalancing your blood sugar levels, the less energy there is to spend on fighting off viruses and bacteria, making it more likely for you to develop an infection.
As the weather turns colder, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. However, you are just as likely to become dehydrated during this time of year as during the summer. We just don’t have soaring temperatures and sweat to remind us of this fact. Our bodies use water to function. Without water, we are handicapping our bodies and our immune system, making us more prone to infections.
Get More Rest
As you venture out into the brisk, cold morning, your body has to work overtime adjust to the colder temperatures, weakening your immune system. Our immune system then relies on sleep to recover from the hard work of the day. Without adequate sleep, you are weakening your immune system further, and making it more likely for you to get an infection.
Regular Moderate Exercise
When it’s cold, we’re tempted to stay inside, curled up on the couch while we munch on all our favorite comfort foods. While comforting, we are more likely to gain weight. Not to mention, regular exercise is what boosts our natural cells responsible for fighting viruses and bacteria.
Wash Your Hands
Our hands touch countless surfaces and other people each day, exposing our immune system to outside germs. Washing your hands often is the best way get rid of the germs and help out your immune system. To be effective, you not only want to wash your hands more often, but you also should make sure you are washing them thoroughly. To properly wash your hands, you should wash for at least 20 seconds. You can count this to yourself or just sing happy birthday twice.