Looking to avoid a certain virus right now? Or just want to be able to bounce back from a cold or flu quickly? Whether you’re at home or on the road, most of you will be exposed to the common cold or the flu throughout the year, but I’m going to help you keep your immune system strong so that you’re less likely to be taken down, and if you are, your body will be able to recover as quickly as possible!
Your body is constantly working hard to stay healthy, but if we don’t support it in doing so, it’s eventually going to crash and get sick when exposed to viruses and bacteria. Implementing a few (or all) of the following tips into your daily routine, or as often as possible, is the best way to keep your immune system running well. This is most effective when done year-round, but can certainly help give you a fighting chance if you implement them now.
Top immune-boosting tips:
- Sleep: Your cell phone can’t function without being charged, and neither can you! Whatever amount of sleep you’re currently getting, aim for an extra 30-60 minutes this season. You may have to rearrange your evening or morning schedule a tad, but it will pay off.
- Water: your liver & other organs do a great job at filtering out waste & toxins, but if you’re not drinking enough water, those unwanted products have a harder time leaving the body! Start drinking 1-2 more glasses per day. and cut back on the other beverages you might indulge in too often, like soda, energy drinks, and coffee filled with sugar..
- Fruits & veggies are loaded with antioxidants and virus-fighting compounds, can help to increase antibodies and white blood cells, and provide us with loads of vitamins & minerals!
- Multivitamin: If your diet suffers when you’re on the road (or always) a multivitamin is a great way to ensure you’re filling some nutrient gaps. Head to a natural health store (most malls have one) and ask for a high quality multivitamin.
- Vitamin C: many people take vitamin C when they’re already sick in hopes of improving overnight, but it is much more effective to build your immune system over time with this potent vitamin. Look for Ester-C or Lypo-spheric Vitamin C.
- Vitamin D: another potent vitamin, this one helps with both immunity and mood management as we head into shorter days and gloomier weather. Your body can actually make Vit D from the sunshine, but supplementing through the winter months is often necessary, so look for Vitamin D3 with K.
- Probiotics: health starts in the gut, and our gut is made up of millions of bacteria that help us digest food, stay healthy, and much more. Many people have a depleted gut microbiome (ie. Not enough good gut bacteria, too much bad bacteria, or not enough strains of good bacteria) so introducing a high quality probiotic for about a week each month can be a great help for our immune systems.
- Garlic, onions, ginger fall into the fruit and veggie category, but they deserve their own special mention as they all contain powerful antiviral compounds. Bonus: they’re super affordable! Add them (fresh) into as many meals as you can, but if you’re on the road, use a high-quality powdered version when fresh isn’t available!
- Herbal tea can be a powerful immune booster, especially if buying a high-quality organic brand. Nettle leaf, lemon balm, ginger, elderberry, and echinacea are some great options.
- Moderate exercise can have a positive effect on the immune system, but be sure not to overdo it as that can do the opposite. Aim for 150 minutes per week. Stretching, walking, and bodyweight work outs are more convenient when on the road, and are all great options!
- Fresh air has been found to help support the immune system, so take your workouts outside or even just sit outdoors for 5-10 minutes of deep breathing! The temperatures are relatively mild in Ontario right now, and continuing to rise, so get out there and enjoy it, even if you have to put a jacket on!