It’s officially cough and cold season! As the weather chills up, many people are finding themselves weathering through the seasonal cold and flu. Getting sick may be inevitable for some, afterall we don’t have full control over everything. Nevertheless, there are ways we can help keep the cold and flu at bay.
Our body’s immune system is our best source of defense against disease. But if we are not taking good care of ourselves, then our immune system can suffer too and we can end up falling ill.
Don’t despair yet! Follow these tips to give your immune system an extra boost:
Get moving. Make sure to exercise at least 5 days a week for about 30 minutes. Getting your heart rate up on a regular basis can work wonders for both your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Stock up on vitamin C. Are you taking vitamin C on a daily basis? If you aren’t, then it’s time to start if you want to keep your immune system strong. Vitamin C is shown to boost the activity of phagocytes—cells that engulf and digest bacteria—in the blood. It basically supports and energizes the body’s immune system. Since our body cannot store vitamin C, it’s important to consume some every day.
Stress less. It’s no secret that stress can wreak havoc on the body. In fact, prolonged stress can increase the hormone cortisol in the body which can suppress the immune system. Stress is something everyone deals with on a daily basis, but it’s best to manage it with breathing exercises, meditation and exercise.
Say no to sugar. Limit daily sugar intake to no more than 9 teaspoons a day—which is recommended by the American Heart Association. Sugar has been found to impair the immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria. Look for natural sweetener alternatives like honey or stevia.
Sleep more. Are you getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night? If not, then start creating a sleep schedule and stick to it. Many of us live busy lives—rushing the kids to school in the morning, working long hours at work, dealing with rush hour traffic, making dinner and getting in a quick workout—so letting our body rest is mandatory. Your immune system will thank you.