Feeling a little sniffly? Is your throat getting sore? Maybe you’re just feeling generally fatigued and unwell? Cold and flu season is about to hit in full force next month and you probably don’t want the flu or a common cold keep you from work, school, or enjoying the busy holiday months.
So what can you do to keep yourself from getting sick?
Have you ever heard the phrase “boost your immune system?” While your immune system is too complex to “boost” it with one activity or food alone, there are a few steps you can take to keep yourself going strong all winter long. Here are four quick tips to keep feeling your best:
1. Add a few more fruits and vegetables to your diet
For most, winter weather means cozy nights curled up on the couch with hot chocolate, lots of seasonal desserts, and fat-filled comfort foods, but you need to be careful what you’re eating if you want to keep your immune system operating well during this time. While a little indulgence is unlikely to hurt your immune system, poor nutrition can negatively impact your body’s health in more ways than one.
With this in mind, try incorporating a few immune system booster foods to your diet, which include plenty of vegetables, nuts, fruits, garlic, and seeds. Some of your options might include lemons, broccoli, red bell peppers, spinach, almonds, and oranges. Feel free to swap out the occasional hot cocoa for green or lemon-ginger tea, as well.
2. Go to bed a little earlier
Sleep is essential to keeping your immune system operating properly, so it might be time to turn off the phone or put down the remote control and get to bed a little earlier each night than you normally would. As the sun sets in the early evening and the temperature continues to drop, getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night might not be too difficult.
If you’re having trouble nodding off, try making a caffeine-free herbal tea and listening to a meditation app before crawling into bed. Also, make sure you don’t use any electronic devices, as the blue light emitting from your smartphone wakes up your body and may keep you from getting your recommended zzz’s.
3. Get Zen
Long-term stress can cause serious harm to your body and increase the hormone cortisol, which can suppress your body’s immune system. Everyone gets stressed from time to time, but if you are chronically stressed, especially during the winter months, you can become more vulnerable to illnesses, such as the cold and flu. Chronic stress has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease, making it imperative for you to find ways to de-stress.
So specifically how can you de-stress to help out your immune system? Try mediating, investing in your favorite hobbies, staying positive, and finding time to invest in a little “self care.” Your self care might look like a nice bubble bath after a long day or listening to a good album while taking a light walk.
4. Don’t forget that gym membership
It’s easy when the weather gets chilly to not spend as much time working out as you do during summer months, but if you want to keep your immune system in tip-top shape during flu season, you have to get back on the treadmill or weight machine. Not only will regular exercise keep your body healthy, but when you exercise, you body releases endorphins, which will melt away the stress that may be lowering your immune system as well! That’s a definite win-win.
If You’re Already Feeling Under the Weather
Don’t risk missing work or school this winter season because you’re not taking care of your immune system! If you do feel under the weather, make sure to call Apple Wellness Group at (865) 769-9685 to schedule an appointment today. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or subscribe to our Newsletter for more information.