The holiday season is wonderful time of year filled with fun events, happy memories and precious time with your loved ones. Unfortunately, it is also the season when people are more likely to come down with viruses and illnesses. To stay healthy this winter, follow these simple ways to boost your immune system.
Get enough sleep
This is a simple, yet often forgotten way to boost your immune system. You may have noticed that you are more likely to catch a cold or another infection/virus if you are short on sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to more inflammation in your body and an increase in higher levels of your stress hormone, particularly cortisol, which can suppress immune function if not managed properly. Health experts recommend that adults get 7–9 hours of sleep every night to maintain good health.
With many activities and events happening, it can be tempting to forget to exercise daily. However, even moderately exercising for 30 minutes a day will help your body fight infection. This can be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Exercising will also help increase your body’s feel-good hormones and chance of restful sleep.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
If you eat or drink too much sugar, you are decreasing your cell’s ability to fight bacteria. You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in zinc, and vitamins C and E. Eating foods that are brightly colored (such as berries, carrots, squash, apples, kale, and grapes) help your immune system stay strong.
If stress drags on for a long period of time, you are more susceptible to coming down with an illness. At this time of year, it is hard to completely get rid of stress, but you can take steps to manage it better. Some ways to reduce stress include taking short, periodic breaks during the day, meditating and/or having some quiet time, and slowing down your mind and body.