Many people are happy to have the hot summer days end and transition to the cooler days of autumn, but the chilly days of winter and the cold season quickly follow. With the cooler days, often comes an increase in cold and flu. You can avoid being sick – and subsequently feeling like you have to go to the doctor for prescription meds – by thinking about prevention now. To that end, here are some great tips to strengthen your body’s immune system during the winter season.
Here are some tips to help you stay healthy this winter.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The best way to fend off illness is by maintaining a proper healthy diet full of whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats and whole grains. Eat a lot of citrus fruits and fresh winter vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, rutabagas, turnips, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes. Reduce your alcohol usage, too. When you keep your diet clean and in good working order, your body will be more prepared to keep those nasty bugs at bay.
Boost Your Immune System
Make sure you get enough sleep. Studies have shown that if you’re sleep deprived, your body is less able to fight off the germs that make you sick. Take supplemental vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc, and cook with plenty of fresh garlic to support healthy immune function. Try eating an extra piece of fruit or veggie every day for that extra immunity boost, too.
Wash Hands Frequently
Keep bacteria and viruses off of your hands by washing your hands whenever you can; the germs on your hands can easily be transferred to your mouth and eyes. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you for times when you aren’t able to wash hands. Additionally, use antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces in shared workspace areas to reduce the risk of transmission.
It is easy to drink plenty of water when it’s hot outside, but as the weather cools down, it’s also easy to forget. Staying hydrated requires the average person about a half-gallon per day. If you struggle with plain water, add lemon slices, fresh mint, or make an herbal iced tea.
Stress taxes the body in many ways, thus lessening resistance to nasty flu and cold bugs that circulate during the colder months. While some stress can’t be avoided, you can take simple measures like spending one day a week relaxing with friends and family and taking the time to just enjoy a good book and a nice cup of hot chocolate.
Get Some Sunshine
The body requires sunshine to make vitamin D, which is necessary for healthy bone support. But sunshine is also needed to keep you mentally healthy. Many people, especially in the northern latitudes, struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This depression can be lessened by going for a 30-minute morning walk each day. If walks aren’t possible, just sit outside for a bit, soaking up some rays. Your general mood, energy level, and outlook on life will significantly improve with regular sunshine.
How will you be staying healthy this winter?