The cold weather months can leave us vulnerable to increased colds and flu. A strong immune system more readily fights off invaders, leaving us with few to no symptoms, but if we are run down by stress overload, poor diets, endocrine disruptors, or lack of quality sleep, our chances of getting sick increase.
Luckily there are simple, daily steps you can take to boost your immunity, and help optimize your immune system’s ability to kick out viruses and infections!
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables
Poor quality diets leave us with nutritional deficiencies and are a common cause for a weakened immune response in many individuals. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain numerous phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for your good health (not to mention the health of your skin). Purchasing organic produce as much as possible reduces your exposure to pesticides, which are carcinogenic.
- Keep an eye on your stress levels
Did you know that prolonged stress can lower your body’s pathogen-fighting white blood cell count? While some stress is normal, and can even motivate us in positive ways, too much stress, or stress that becomes chronic and negative, can wear us out; leaving us run down and vulnerable to illness and infections. Learning to mindfully manage stress is a cornerstone of a health-promoting lifestyle.
- Commit to exercise you enjoy
Getting exercise each day is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The key is to avoid overtraining, which can add to your body’s stress levels, and to exercise in ways you genuinely like. You don’t want exercise to be one more chore you dread doing.
- Prioritize sleep
Making sure that you are getting sufficient sleep is essential for your health. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night so that your body can fully rest and recharge for the next day. Practice good sleep hygiene: take an hour (at least) to wind down before bed. You want your bedroom to be a comforting, restful retreat; keep devices, televisions, and computers in other parts of the house.