It’s no secret that as the colder months roll in, the chances of getting sick start to increase. Colds and flus are more than common, but there are actions that we can take to help ensure the normal, healthy functioning of our immune systems. Our immune systems need to be strong in order to help us fight against colds and flu. Fortunately, there’s plenty that we can do to prepare ourselves for the upcoming cold season through regular exercise, healthy nutrition and adequate sleep.
Regular exercise is one of the best things that you can do to ensure overall body health and a healthy immune system. By participating in activities, you can prevent, or help manage, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and much more. You’re allowing your body to operate as efficiently as possible, and when you’re maintaining optimal bodily functions, your susceptibility to infections and colds is reduced. As blood and lymph flow increase with exercise, the circulation of immune cells also increases. While this immune response is temporary, regular physical activity will help ensure that your immune system continues to be ready for whatever life throws your way.
Another important component in keeping our bodies as healthy as possible, especially during the cold season, is our nutrition. What we eat has a dramatic impact on our overall ability to defend against viruses and infections. Ensuring that you maintain a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables can help support your immune system by providing your body with the nutrients that it needs, such as beta-carotene, zinc and the B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, D and E.
How do these nutrients help support a normal, healthy immune system?
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which can support immune system function. Eating green leafy vegetables, carrots and sweet potatoes can help increase the beta-carotene in your diet.
Both vitamin C and vitamin E can help combat free radicals, which also helps support a healthy immune system. Some foods that you can eat to help increase these vitamins in your diet would include red peppers, oranges, lemons and other fruits for Vitamin C, as well as nuts, seeds and spinach for Vitamin E.
Vitamin D is another important dietary requirement, and it can be found in cereals, seafood and plant-based milks. Supplements are another great source of this vitamin – sunlight, too! It’s been shown to have many functions in the body, from supporting calcium absorption to supporting immune function and more.
Maintaining a healthy balance of regular activity, a nutritious diet and regular sleep can help support a normal, healthy immune system in the face of cold and flu season.