The time is upon us. Cold and flu season, that is!
Below are five tips to help you stay healthy and tissue-free during the months ahead.
Stock up on fermented foods. Did you know that about 70% of your immune system is located in the gut? That’s right! When talking about gut health, probiotics and maintaining a healthy gut environment go hand-in-hand. Probiotics are defined as “good” bacteria because they are beneficial to the body when consumed in adequate amounts. You can add probiotics naturally into your diet through fermented foods (think yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha or tempeh), or a probiotic supplement.
Bump up the nutrients in your diet. It’s no new news, but a variety of plant-based foods is one of the most effective ways that you can boost your health from the inside out! Foods high in the following nutrients are especially beneficial when needing an immune boost:
- vitamin A found in sweet potatoes, carrots and kale
- vitamin C found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwi and broccoli
- vitamin E found in almonds, spinach, sweet potato and sunflower seeds
- zinc found in whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds
Stick to a consistent workout routine. Exercise helps detox the body by flushing out bacteria, can boost white blood cells which helps the body fight disease and decreases the release of stress hormones. Try out a new exercise class or buddying up with a friend to have as an accountability partner to make working out fun!
Stress less. When the body is stressed, it releases cortisol, the main stress hormone that produces a “fight or flight response”. When cortisol is produced, the immune system is signaled to slow down to allow for cortisol to do its job. When stressed for long periods of time, the body’s immune system remains compromised, resulting in an increased risk of illness and infection. Several ways to reduce stress are to practice meditation, take a yoga class and spend more time with loved ones!
Sleep more. With the days becoming shorter and darkness settling in a little quicker, it’s time to re-evaluate your sleep schedule. Put simply, getting adequate amounts of sleep allows your body to fight infectious diseases, even before you start experiencing symptoms. To help you get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut eye time, try taking a relaxing bath, sipping on some chamomile tea and shutting off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.