As we approach the shorter and darker days of the wintertime, the incidence of colds, flus and other illnesses increases. Fortunately, there are various ways that we can support our immune system to help prevent or lessen the severity of seasonal sickness. Most importantly, our work should start in the kitchen. The foods we consume play an integral role in supporting various physiological processes, such as those occurring within our immune system. It is important to focus on eating a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. It is also wise to ensure that the foods you consume are rich in micronutrients and minerals such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and more.
Some Immune Boosting Foods:
- High Quality Proteins– Organic and pasture raised chicken and turkey, grass fed beef, wild caught fish
- Colorful Berries– Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries etc.
- Leafy Greens– Kale, Arugula, Spinach, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard etc.
- Bell peppers
- Cruciferous Vegetables– Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower etc.
- Fermented foods– Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kefir, etc
- Herbs and spices– Garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin etc.
Other Immune System Supporting Tips:
Drink plenty of water. Your body can become dehydrated quickly – even while you are sleeping or just breathing – so you must replenish those lost fluids often throughout your day. When your body is dehydrated, that slows down the progress of infection-fighting immune cells called lymph. Without the rapid movement of these cells, your system may become immunocompromised.
Get Moving! Exercise can help to boost your immune system because it improves your overall circulation. The better your circulation, the more easily immune cells, and infection-fighting molecules can travel throughout your body.
Catch some ZZZs. Sleep is integral to almost everything your body does, including the creation of infection-fighting cells. If you do not get enough sleep, you will likely be more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.
Eliminate stress. Okay, this one is easier said than done, but it is still important for the health of your immune system that you try to mitigate the stressors in your life. A stress response in your body reduces the level of immune response your body can have, leaving you vulnerable to viruses and disease. If possible, remove yourself from stressful situations and practice deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness.