With the Coronavirus pandemic still a concern and the inevitable cold and flu season that’s upon us, it’s more important than ever to buffer your immune system.
Fortunately, many of the strategies that strengthen immunity also help with weight management and an overall healthier lifestyle. Check out these expert-backed tips to boost your immune system during this cold winter season and put your best self forward.
1 – Move Your Body
Regular physical activity can strengthen your immune system and help fight off infections. Movement helps your immune cells perform effectively, which can then improve circulation, reduce inflammation and strengthen antibodies.
2 – Clean Up Your Diet
Malnutrition or a diet that is lacking key nutrients can hinder the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies. They can also increase inflammation. To boost your immunity, limit foods that are highly processed, fried, and those that are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Limiting alcohol consumption can also help your immune system.
3 – Take Sleep Seriously
When you sleep, your body rebuilds and restores its essential systems and processes. The Sleep Foundation does a good job of explaining how sleep and the immune system are closely connected. Here are a few tips to get a better night’s sleep:
- Limit screen time with digital devices.
- Be consistent with the times of day you go to bed and wake up.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and at a relaxing temperature.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
- Get physical activity during the day.
4 – Manage Stress
Too much stress can increase inflammation due to large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream. Stress can also decrease your body’s lymphocytes – white blood cells that help fight off infection. These strategies can help you manage stress in a healthy way:
- Get regular exercise – it releases endorphins and boosts your mood.
- Make time for hobbies and relaxing activities.
- Relax your muscles by stretching often, taking hot baths or showers, massaging them regularly and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Connect with other people – whether they are family, friends, or even a talk therapist.
- Try not to overcommit yourself and live life at a stressfully fast pace.
5 – Stay Hydrated
The bloodstream is made mostly of water – and without enough of it, we can’t properly transport nutrients to each organ system. Hydration is also important for detoxification pathways, lymphatic draining, and making sure we are clearing out any foreign invaders and other waste materials. How much water do you need? A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, you should drink a minimum of 100 ounces of water daily to stay well hydrated.
For information about the connection between weight and the immune system, click here.