Yes, it’s true, the dreaded flu season is upon us in full force. One minute you’re feeling strong and healthy and then out of nowhere, there’s a suspicious scratchiness lingering in the back of your throat. The body is much more resilient than we think. It’s an incredible healing machine, but we still need to support it with natural healing processes. Beyond getting the flu shot and washing your hands on a regular basis, the best lines of defense comes in basic healthy habits. Below we discuss 7 natural immune boosters for you to try this winter.
Catch Some Serious, Consistent Zzz’s
Are you constantly working late and eating dinner at 10 PM? Do you find yourself up past midnight watching just one more episode of whatever show you’re currently binge watching? Sometimes the day doesn’t have enough hours to cram in all of our responsibilities and hobbies but recent studies show that a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your immune system. The lack of proper sleep will make you more likely to catch a virus, then, in turn, make it harder for you to fight it off. Do your body a favor, by hitting the sack for the recommended 7-8 hours every night.
Garlic: If It Works Against Vampires, It Might Repel Illness Too
Sure it won’t do your breath any favors, but adding garlic to your diet can do wonders for your health. Not only can it boost your immune system, it can also help prevent heart disease. The best part is that garlic packs flavor to any savory dish! Recipe Tip: Blend together some raw garlic, lemon, dark leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil to make a healthy pesto. Toss the pesto with whole grain pasta, mix it into scrambled eggs, or spread on toasted bread.
Take a Daily Shot, of Aloe
Packed with Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and folic acid, aloe vera helps to strengthen the immune system. Aloe also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties that help rid your body of harmful toxins and food build up. Before breakfast every morning, indulge with a shot of aloe to keep your digestion strong and to keep your belly pH balanced.
Soak Up the Sun
We get that it’s winter and you may live where there’s 5ft of snow but heading out when there is a little bit of sun shining is great for your immunity. Vitamin D is an immune system supercharger, and catching a few rays is the perfect way to stock up on it. Don’t overdo it, as too much sun can result in sunburns and in extreme cases, skin cancer. Only 10-15 minutes of sunbathing is necessary to scoop up the necessary dosage of Vitamin D.
Yeah, We’re Going to Say it: Exercise
There is no way around it, making daily activities or regular workouts a part of your lifestyle will yield a host of benefits. You don’t have to morph into a fitness freak to boost your immune system. A daily walk or a yoga class a few times a week will keep you physically fit and help your immune system stay in peak shape. Exercise can also flush out excess bacteria out of your lungs, reducing your chances of picking up an airborne illness.
Warm Up By Sipping on Bone Broth
Not only a perfect remedy for a cold winter’s day, this murky stock is nutritional liquid gold. Bone broth contains a mild anti-inflammatory effect, soothe the gut wall, and help repair damage in the digestive tract. By adding some organic vegetables like onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots or ginger, you can slow the migration of white blood cells into the upper respiratory tract, which helps relieve cold symptoms.
Get the Beneficial Bacteria into Your System
Probiotics found in yogurt can strengthen the body’s immune system and help you fight off infection. According to a recent study, athletes in New Zealand who consumed probiotics had 40 percent fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections. Yogurt is also rich in Vitamin D, which gives your immune system a healthy boost. Not into dairy? That’s OK. There are plenty of other options on the market, like coconut kefir.
While you can’t control that person on the subway that has a coughing fit and doesn’t cover their mouth, you can help your immune system get off to the right start. The best defense for avoiding unwanted illness this season is by incorporating simple whole foods to your diet, getting plenty of sleep so your body has time to repair itself, and making activity a part of your lifestyle.