Don’t wait for a runny nose to start paying attention to your immune health! Here are some easy ways to stay healthy during the coldest time of the year.
EAT A NUTRIENT-RICH DIET
A healthy well-balanced diet that includes a combination of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fats is critical for supporting your immune system. Each type of food plays a role in keeping your immune system in check.
Fruits and vegetables like green peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli and leafy greens are all great sources of vitamin C. Zinc can be found in protein-rich foods like meat, poultry and seafood, as well as whole-grains. Though very few foods have vitamin D naturally, fortified foods such as milk, some fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna can help you reach the recommended intake.
Foods with lots of protein are especially important since they are comprised of amino acids such as glutamine, which plays a key role in supporting the immune system. Since glutamine can be depleted with exercise, it’s important to replenish it regularly through your diet.
GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
Did you know sleep deprivation may weaken your immune system, potentially upping your chances of catching the latest virus making the rounds? That’s why you need an adequate amount of sleep every night to help your immune system stay on point. Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day and sleeping in an environment that is as quiet, cool and dark as possible can help you maintain a consistent and healthy sleep schedule.
Getting enough exercise is also key to getting a good night’s sleep. It can be tough to find the motivation to stay active even when you’re feeling healthy—so it’s going to be that much harder when a cough or sore throat makes an appearance. Getting plenty of rest can help you stay energized and motivated to staying active—which in turn will help you get a better night’s rest.
Another unexpected factor in your quality of rest is eating a large meal just before turning in for the night. When you do that, it forces your body to work on digesting food and can disrupt your sleep! Try not to eat too much too close to bedtime so your body can focus on getting productive sleep.
Don’t forget about caffeine! If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, or take any fitness supplements that contain caffeine, try to avoid doing so within six hours of bedtime. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine in that time window can reduce your total sleep by as much as an hour!
We know life can sometimes make it hard to eat properly, exercise and get enough sleep all of the time. That’s where food supplements come in. They can help make it easy to get the nutrients a healthy immune system needs, especially if your schedule is hectic. Vitamin C, Vitamin D and the mineral zinc are all sold as individual supplements and can be found in a variety of formats such as capsules, liquids, lozenges, sprays & tablets.
One last tip: since a healthy gut-flora is at the core of immune health, a good quality probiotic supplement is also worth considering.
Incorporating a high strength probiotic of 25 billion CFU’s into your daily routine not only helps to support good digestive health; but scientific research also suggests that some strains support the immune system too. Look out for all-in-one probiotics supplements that include other immune supporting ingredients for that extra convenience.
Before the winter season takes off, remember to make yourself - and your immune health - a priority.