The summer is over, cooler weather is right around the corner- is your immune system ready for cold and flu season? The chill in the air means the season for illness is not far behind, but you can boost your immunity and protect yourself from sickness. We have some tips for little life adjustments that can keep you healthier all winter long.
- Watch how you eat. First, manage your weight. There’s evidence to indicate that obesity lowers immunity, with at least one using mice finding that the obese mice were 50% more susceptible to the flu virus than lean mice. That’s only part of the puzzle when it comes to food, though; it’s important to choose healthy, immunity boosting foods. Try fresh produce, especially fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and beta carotene. Nuts and whole grains provide vitamin E, beans, turkey, crab, oysters and beef offer zinc, and foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, nuts, and flaxseed oil provide important Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Get some exercise. Numerous studies have confirmed that people who get regular exercise take fewer sick days than those who are sedentary. It makes sense, because exercise promotes overall health, and improves circulation, which can lead to a stronger immune system. There’s evidence to suggest, though, that moderate exercise is better than too strenuous; of course, you should not work out if you’re already sick.
- Have good habits. Don’t smoke. As to drinking, moderation is the key: heavy alcohol can suppress the immune system, but some studies lend credence to the idea that beer and wine in moderation can actually be beneficial.
- Prioritize sleep. The body uses sleep as a time of restoration and healing, so a regular lack of sleep can be extremely detrimental. Lack of sleep leaves you vulnerable to colds, flu, and other infections, but it also increases your risk of larger health problems, like obesity and diabetes.
- Protect yourself from stress. Stress hormones can suppress your disease-fighting white blood cells or trigger a hyperactive immune system, increasing your susceptibility to auto-immune diseases. Interestingly, social stress has been shown to be more damaging than physical stress, so part of taking care of yourself should be building healthy relationships and finding outlets for your stress.
Have you noticed, the steps to take to strengthen your immune system are the same practices that make up a healthy lifestyle? At our clinic, we embrace an integrated approach to wellness, treating patients as whole people, and addressing medical complaints through natural therapies and lifestyle changes. For information about how we can help you live your healthiest life, visit our website or call today for your free consultation.