How to Boost Your Immunity During Winter Months
1. Now is a good time to get your flu shot. It can take up to two weeks after receiving your vaccination for your body to develop antibodies.
2. Hand washing or using hand sanitizers is one of the best ways to prevent spreading infections and getting sick. Viruses can survive for some time outside the body, which means you can get sick from touching surfaces like railings and doorknobs or shaking hands with other people and then touching your mouth or face. Others sick with Influenza and COVID-19 are contagious two days before the onset of symptoms, so people can spread these diseases even before they know they are sick.
3. Establish a sleep routine. Your immune system can be affected by poor sleep habits. Cytokines are proteins that are released during sleep and play an important role in your body’s ability to fight infections. Limiting caffeine later in the day, engaging in routine physical fitness, limiting daytime naps, and creating a restful environment are ways to promote better sleep.
4. Fuel up on healthy whole foods (foods that unprocessed or minimally processed). Remember that old saying, “You are what you eat?” Nutrients play a role in immune health. Citrus fruits like oranges, berries, or grapefruits are high in Vitamin C, which may prevent or shorten infections by promoting immune cell functions. When you eat whole foods, you’re getting the food in its natural state, with all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals rather than the bits that remain after processing.
5. Prioritize your mental health and self-care. The holiday season can be challenging, especially for those who struggle with anxiety and depression. A balanced diet and routine physical fitness are two ways to make you feel better. Even a daily walking routine can trigger your body to release endorphins, chemicals that interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce perception of pain and cause a positive feeling in the body. Studies show that having a better level of mental health can boost your immune system.
6. Did we mention routine physical activity? A physical fitness routine is good for your mental health and immune system. Exercise boosts blood flow, which circulates white blood cells around your body. White blood cells are part of the immune system and the body’s first line of defense. As white blood cells move through the body, they look for foreign invaders like fungi, parasites viruses and bacteria and fight to destroy them.