Do you want to winterize your immune system before the dreaded flu season makes you miserable? There are several things you can do ahead of time to help you beat, or at least lessen, the annoying sneezing, coughing, and fever that usually accompanies winter colds.
It is almost inevitable to get sick during the winter time. We are all cooped up indoors breathing everyone else’s germs, but believe it or not you can start protecting your body from infection now, before you get sick. Here are some helpful tips that can keep you healthier this winter.
Drink fluids, especially green tea – Staying hydrated is always good for a strong immune system. It rids you of all the bad stuff your body doesn’t need. During the harsh winter months, drink green tea to boost your health. It contains antioxidants, which are infection-fighting agents, according to a study published in Antiviral Research.
Do meditation – Stress affects your immune system in many ways, including how quickly it gets rid of infections. Meditation is one of the best tools to reduce stress naturally, so much so that a recent University of Wisconsin study found that this technique reduces the chances of catching a cold by up to 50 percent.
Exercise – Staying strong can go a long way in improving your immune system. Just because it’s winter and you are covered under layers of clothes, doesn’t mean you have to stop working out.
In a study from Appalachian State University, those who worked out five times a week saw a 43 percent reduction in sick days.
Sleep enough – Getting enough sleep can boost your immune system and prevent illness. Eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep for adults and a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that people who slept eight hours at night, on average, were three times more resistant to viruses than those who just got seven hours.
Take vitamin D – We all know how good vitamin D is for us and, since we can’t get it naturally through sunlight in winter, our immune system is more at risk for disease, according to a research from Finland. Eating fish (salmon and tuna) can compensate for the lack of sunlight, but we also have supplements and if you take them regularly, you will notice a big difference.
Have sex – Of course this is only recommended for consensual adults, but scientists at Wilkes University determined that couples who have sex twice a week had 30 percent higher levels of antibodies that fight colds. Sex is not only a great exercise, it also makes people happy, which is another good immune system booster.
Eat red and orange veggies – Tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and squash have antioxidants, which not only give them that vibrant color but are converted into vitamin A in your body. This vitamin is great at fighting food related infections and also helps the immunity of the digestive system.
Doing these simple things can greatly improve your immune system this winter. Additionally, make sure you get a flu shot, wash your hands often, and sneeze into your sleeve instead of your hands. Hopefully all these tips will keep you out of the doctors office this winter.
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