Ways to Boost your Immune System and Feel your Best this Winter
There’s no sense in looking your best if you’re not feeling your best. During the winter months, this becomes increasingly difficult with the health obstacles caused by harsh elements. Boosting your immune system is the first step you can take towards combating the hurdles of winter. Follow these quick and easy steps in order to start feeling your best.
- Diet and exercise
The biggest impact on your immune system comes from diet and exercise. Rather than going on a crazy diet or exercise routine that is doomed to fail, make smaller changes over time that will leave a more meaningful impact. Researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine found that just 20 minutes of exercise a day can add noticeable improvements to your immune system. Eating five servings of fruit/vegetables a day, limiting red meat consumption, and drinking eight glasses of water a day are just a few dietary changes you can make as well.
- Vitamins and supplements
Oranges are perhaps the most popular source of vitamin C and go-to source for boosting your immune health. However, did you know that there are plenty of other supplements that can boost your immune system? Vitamin B12, Zinc, and probiotics are just a few of the many options. Supplements should not be your sole reliance for immune health, but mixing a few into your diet may give you an added boost.
- Quit/moderate smoking and alcohol consumption
Smoking and alcohol consumption have numerous detrimental effects on our health, and not to be forgotten is the immune system. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from diseases related to these risk behaviours. If you’re lucky enough to escape fatal consequences, it’s likely that your overall health is still taking a hit. Studies have found that cigarette smoke both weakens overall immunity and slows immune response. Other studies found that alcohol consumption can increase susceptibility to infection and viruses, such as pneumonia. If you need help quitting, considering consulting a professional.
You may have other reasons for getting your beauty sleep, but immune health should be added to your list. Our bodies need sleep for rejuvenation and letting biological processes go to work. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep can help fight off the common cold, among other ailments. Furthermore, once you actually come down with something like a fever, a lack of sleep can hinder recovery time. Finally, if you decided to get a flu shot, a lack of sleep may also limit effectiveness.
These steps will get you on track to boosting your immune system and feeling your best, but there is still plenty that you can do to see even better results. It’s important to develop a skincare routine year-round, but it’s even more important during the winter when cold air causes dry skin and cold sores. However, most important is getting treated quickly when you begin to suffer from an ailment because these tips are not foolproof. Physicians can assist in anything from prescribing Valacyclovir for cold sores to diagnosing seasonal affective disorder (aka SAD) and so much more. If your problems persist even after following this guide, be proactive in visiting your doctor.