10 simple ways to boost your immune system this winter

Want to stay well this winter...try some of these ideas - it's worked for us in past winters!!

  1. SLEEP - This is #1 on the list for good reason - if you're getting less than 7 hours per night over a long period of time, your body will produce more of a hormone called cortisol to give you the energy to make it through the day.  While cortisol (known as the fight or flight hormone) is great to give you the extra boost to get stuff done, over a period of time it can wear down your immune system and make you extremely susceptible to colds and flu.  Use this handy sleep calculator to work out your best time to schedule shut eye.
  2. Take some probiotics - The latest research published in theJournal of Science and Medicine in Sportfound that New Zealand athletes had about 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic compared to when they took a placebo.  For more proof - have a read here, but be sure to check with your healthcare professional before taking any new supplement.
  3. Get some Vitamin D - preferably from the sun.  We know this can be hard in the winter, but just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference to your vitamin levels.  Vitamin D is an important factor in immune system health. Some studies have shown that there is a link between vitamin D status and the risk of developing influenza. People who have low vitamin D levels may have an increased risk of developing influenza.
  4. Don't smoke - That cold you just can’t seem to shake might actually be hanging around due to your smoking habit. Not only does smoking cause serious health conditions like cancer, but it also lessens your body’s immune response, making you more susceptible to infections. You may also find it harder to shake everyday illnesses that are no big deal to most healthy adults. Tobacco products damage virtually every system of the body, and the immune system is no different.  Smoking also decreases the levels of vitamin C in the body, so if you are trying to quit you might want to talk to your healthcare provider about supplementing with some vitamin C to help support your immune system.
  5. Keep up with your exercise - Exercising improves oxygenation of the bloodstream and benefits cardiovascular function, both of which keep the immune system stronger.  Like with most things in life, more does not equal better and if you overtrain, the opposite affect with occur and you will stress your immune system out.  So yes, hit that snooze button sometimes when you feel like a sleep in would do you more good than an exercise sesh!
  6. Smile - this is probably the easiest one on the list!  Studies have shown that optimism helps boost your immune system.  Don't believe us?  Have a read here.
  7. Wash those hands - Hand washing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections as people frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it (at least 3.6 times per hour on average!). Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick or can be transferred onto our food.
  8. Eat your greens and good fats - It takescalories(energy) to form antibodies and dispatch them to the front lines when germs invade. When your calorie intake dwindles because you don’t eat enough or you skip meals, your body prioritizes other functions while your immune system is left to operate at a deficit.  Dark-colored produce (berries, kale, broccoli) tends to be higher in flavonoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants. Just make sure you eat a little saturated fat from butter or coconut oil with those veggies, so you can absorb all their nutrients.
  9. Say "Ommmm' - While the physical effects of stress are still being studied by scientists, studies have so far proven that chronic stress can lead to a variety of negative effects on physical and emotional well-being, including a reduced immune response. Stress-reducing practices like meditation, massage, and even music can help us relax and improve our immune function.
  10. Drink your tea - There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help strengthen the immune system. Even if the effect is minimal, you can't go wrong, since both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea.

Stay well #bootybabes xxx