Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity This Winter
While winter is an amazing time to snuggle in your blanket and enjoy a hot cup of tea, the cold weather is also accompanied by a plethora of viral infections and a weakened immune system. Runny nose, sore throat, and fever are common ailments faced during the winter season and long, expensive bills of prescription drugs add insult to injury. So, it is always better to keep your body healthy and reduce the risk of these infections.
Our immune system is affected by multiple factors ranging from diet, smoking and alcohol intake to sleep and exercising habits. Incorporating these simple tips into your daily life will go a long way to boosting your immune system and preventing infections.
Catch some good night’s sleep:
Sleep not only allows the body the time to rest and restore its energy but also restores and repairs the immune system and helps in antibody production. Hence, a proper sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. Sleep deprivation contributes to fatigue and stress, which increases the cortisol. Cortisol dampens our body’s immune response and increases our susceptibility to illness.
So, avoid pulling an all-nighter and ensure that you are getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Bask in the sunshine:
Sunlight is the easiest and the cheapest way to get sufficient amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in strengthening our body’s immunity, as it helps in activating T cells, which defends our body against infections and illness. It also protects our body against chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
10-20 minutes of sun exposure is enough to fulfill your requirement of vitamin-D. So, get outside and add a little sunshine in your life.
Make regular exercise your habit:
Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly not only experience better quality of life, but also show significant decrease in illness. Vigorous physical activities like running, swimming, cycling etc. increase the body’s ability to deliver and use oxygen and flush bacteria out of our lungs. Exercise also increases the count of white blood cells that helps in detecting and fighting infection-causing bacteria. The more regularly you exercise, stronger your immune system becomes. Working out regularly and indulging in vigorous aerobic activity.
Say hello to “friendly” bacteria:
Fermented food and drinks like yogurt and curd are highly nutritious and immensely valuable to health and healing. The probiotics (good microbes) found in these eatables help in improving the digestion by stimulating digestive juices and enzymes and also reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections. Following are some rich sources of probiotics you can incorporate in your diet.
- Soy milk
- Dark chocolate
Improve your diet:
The best way to boost your immunity is by improving your dietary habits. Make sure your body is getting sufficient vitamins and minerals. Having a well-balanced diet will replenish all the essential nutrients your body needs for a healthy immune system such as zinc, vitamin A and C, and iron. Some immunity-boosting food items rich in these nutrients are outlined below:
- Citrus fruits (Oranges, lemons, grapefruit etc.)
- Raw garlic
- Green Vegetables (Broccoli, spinach, kale etc.)
Also, try to avoid consuming sugar as it reduces the efficiency of white blood cells and can have an adverse effect on your body’s ability to fight infections.
Say no to tobacco:
Smoking sabotages our basic immune defenses by destroying the antibodies in our blood stream and increases the risk of respiratory infections. So next time you smoke, keep in mind that you are not consuming a cigarette, it is consuming you.
Don’t Worry; Be Happy:
Stress is one of the biggest immune system destroyers. Unwanted anxiety and stress in life decreases the production of immune cells in the body. A hearty laugh will help you de-stress and will add extra years to your life.
So go ahead, treat yourself, watch a movie, dance to your favorite tunes and enjoy life.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.