With cold & flu season upon us, it’s time to really step it up when it comes to supporting our immunity. Through different lifestyle and dietary habits, you can provide your body with the preventative measures it needs in order to be strong and healthy. Instead of just waiting until it’s too late, and running to grab whatever over-the-counter drug you need in order fight a virus…try implementing a few of these tips in to your everyday life and know that your body has all the tools it needs to ward off sickness.
1. Garlic, Ginger & Turmeric Are Your New Best Friends: These three powerhouse spices are full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Try adding them to snacks and meals daily and trust me, you will feel a difference.
2. Up Your Plant Intake: In order to have a strong immune system, you need to nourish it with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytochemical, all things very present in plant foods. From fruits and vegetables to nuts and seeds, these nutrient dense foods will support your immune system as it works to ward off viruses and infections.
3. Eat Fermented Foods: 70% of your immune system is found in your gut, which means it needs to be in tip top shade in order for you to have strong immunity. Fermented foods are gut-loving foods, and the bacteria found in them actually produce antimicrobial compounds in your gut that help fight off infections, viruses, bad bacteria and fungi.
4. Get Some Quality Sleep: Honestly, the benefits of a good night’s sleep are endless. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies release at night to signal that it’s time for sleep…but it’s also super important when it comes to immunity. Melatonin actually activates certain immune cells to release infection-fighting cells into your system. So definitely make sure you’re getting good quality sleep, so that melatonin can do it’s job properly.
5. Drink Plenty of H2O: Hydration is huge when it comes to immunity. Water hydrates our mucous membranes (the bodies first line of defence against viruses) so they can function properly, and it supports the lymphatic system that caries white blood cells all around your body and protects from infection.
6. Stress Management is Key: Whether it’s meditation, journaling, exercise, reading, hiking, binging TV shows or cooking up a storm…you have to manage your stress levels. When we get stressed and our cortisol levels rise, our bodies ability to fight off viruses and pathogens is weakened. So try and zen out daily for extra immune protection.
Boosting immunity really can be as simple as eating more vegetables, drinking more water and getting to sleep early. It doesn’t have to be complicated or involve spending hundreds on supplements. Bring it back to the basics first, and focus on nourishing your body and mind…your immune system will thank you for it.
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and writer currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.