Building Your Immune System for Cold Winter Months

While seasons are amazing and give us a new look at the world around us, sometimes they are just predictably difficult on our health. For example, the start of summer and ear aches that may develop from public swimming areas; the start of spring and allergic reactions from pollen and ragweed in the air; the start of fall with exhaustion from new routines; and the start of winter with impending runny noses, deep coughs and flu from cold weather months. At this time of year, we need to do all we can to keep our immune systems running at their peak performance, and ward off the harsh effects of cold and flu season.

Immune System Defenses  

A Solid Nutritional Foundation

Including colorful produce in the diet may seem a bit harder in winter as local Farmer’s Markets wind down, but it is so important to access their key nutrients – antioxidants, phytonutrients, micronutrients – to support your body through the long winter months. Continue to find seasonal items, but seek out frozen and canned items for those foods that have tapered off.

Sleep

The Sleep Foundation suggests a minimum of seven hours of sleep each day for the average adult, for optimal mood, energy and health. Evening obligations and downtime activities certainly get in the way of that for many people, but pushing back is important. Prepare a recording for your favorite late-night shows, delay those work deadlines that can wait, and minimize electronics and caffeine late in the day. With that, you might get your head on the pillow and eyes closed at a more reasonable hour.

Hygiene

Avoid catching contagious illnesses with a handful of better hygiene practices. Good handwashing with soap and warm water will minimize the spread of gems. Sitting in the sunshine for just 20 minutes per day gives your body the ability to generate vitamin D, an important part of the immune system. Keeping the filter on your return vents clean can help circulate and clear your indoor air.

Antioxidants

Vitamins and nutrients from dietary sources can help keep your body’s immunity strong when the odds are high. Consider seeking out nutritional supplements for when your diet is lacking including vitamins like C and E, minerals like selenium, and carotenoids like astaxanthin.

Fight for a Better Winter

Don’t let the wintertime knock you down. Keep your immune system strong and know you’re doing your best to stay healthy and strong through the cold months ahead.