I don’t know about you but after surviving a super hot, super humid summer I’m more than ready for the cooler months – cozy fall fashion, movie nights, hot chocolate, falling leaves, sign me up for all of the above! The only trouble that comes with the change of seasons is your immune system may not be up to the challenge of preventing any colds or flus that come your way. Getting the flu shot and loading up on hand sanitiser are good ways to keep away the germs, but boosting your immune system in the first place is the best way to prevent any incoming sickness! You don’t want to miss any beautiful autumnal weekends do you?
First of all, look at your breakfast and try adding some more superfoods to really get in those vitamins and minerals. Maybe go for a smoothie instead of toast and pack it full of healthy fats like almond or coconut milk, avocado or almond butter. Add in berries and chia seeds and that smoothie is going to pack a punch – not only to your hunger but also to your immune system! While we’re on the topic of eating good, clean food, add in some veggies too! Dark leafy greens, berries, and sweet potatoes help build up your immune system’s defences and consuming citrus fruits will help clear out cold or flu viruses quickly.
Stock up on some vitamins and take a multivitamin daily – if you are, you’re already a step ahead of the rest. In the lead-up to winter, up your dosage of Vitamin C and Zinc – both are known to shorten the duration of colds and protect against immune system deficiencies. The only caveat with this one is you need to have been taking the vitamins before you catch the virus if it’s going to have any effect on it. Taking the vitamins when you get sick won’t help nearly as much as if you’ve been taking them for awhile. If you are not a fan of supplements, foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, oysters, nuts, and beans have powerful immune-boosting effects as well.
Probiotics are another way to help with inflammation and prevent infection – plus, they’ve also been linked to reducing the severity of colds and flus. Probiotics are live active cultures found in yogurt and are “good” bacteria that help your stomach. Considering that 75% of your immune system is found in your stomach, a healthy and well-functioning one (something that regularly taking probiotics ensures) is a good place to start! As well, “fermented foods”, such as unpasteurised sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir support bacterial health. It’s true!
It might seem like the last thing you want to do but maintaining an exercise regimen can reduce your risk of catching wintertime bugs. 20-30 minutes of daily physical activity can give you a highly effective boost in your immune system, as well as keep the winter fifteen off. But make sure to keep your workouts moderate as intensive training during fall/winter months can actually increase your risk of illness.