Every winter many of us get colds or the flu due to poor immune system.  When our immune system is low there is a significantly higher chance of getting a cold or flu or other disease since our body is weak and can’t fight these foreign attacks efficiently.    We need to boost our immune system, especially during the winter months so that we can stay healthy and not get sick.  Last thing we want is to end up a doctor’s office and getting prescribed drugs to fight off a cold or flu when we could have helped prevent it in the first place.

cold

Below are a few simple steps you can take to help boost your immune system and help prevent the winter blues.

1. Vitamin D – D3 is very important in helping boost your immune system and keeping you healthy .  According to Dr Michael Holick, one of the leading vitamin D researchers, “Vitamin D helps you fight infections of all kinds. A study done in Japan, for example, showed that schoolchildren taking 1,200 units of vitamin D per day during the winter time reduced their risk of getting influenza A infection by about 40 percent. I believe it’s far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu….   We know that the immune cells use vitamin D and that they activate vitamin D. There’s good evidence that it will help kill tuberculosis bacteria, for example, if you have adequate vitamin D on board… We think that the immune system is primed with vitamin D in order to help fight infections.”  D3 is easy to find in supplement form or you can also use photo-therapy during the winter months when the sun’s rays are not strong enough to help your skin and body produce it.

2. Sleep – According to a study for The Archives of Internal Medicine people with less than 7 hours of sleep were three times as likely to catch a cold than those that averaged more than 8 hours sleep a day.   Sleep is a way to rest and allow your body to heal.   Those of us who burn the candle at both ends may feel like we are getting more work done, but forget how important it is for our bodies to rest and rejuvenate.   According to Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D, “The deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. After 2am, your sleep becomes more superficial. If you are not getting the deep, regenerative sleep that occurs between 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., then you may wake up between 2 a.m. – 3 a.m., when the sleep cycle naturally becomes more superficial, and have trouble falling back to sleep.  If your body is chronically deprived of the regenerative sleep between 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., then you may still feel fatigued when you wake up in the morning.”

3. Meditation – Meditation helps ward off illness and infections. In one study testing immune function, flu shots were given to volunteers who had meditated for eight weeks and to people who didn’t meditate. Blood tests taken later showed the meditation group had higher levels of antibodies produced against the flu virus, according to the study in Psychosomatic Medicine.   Meditation also helps reduce stress and which in turn helps the bodies immune system.

4. Eat Healthier –  Food plays a huge role on how your body functions.  Avoiding processed food and eating more fruits and vegetables will automatically help boost the bodies immune system by providing the proper nutrients to help fuel your body.   Some excellent immune boosting foods are: garlic, ginger, chili, mushrooms (shitake, maitake, chaga and reishi), miso and fermented foods for their probiotics.

5. Drink More Water– Many of us forget to drink water in the winter since we are not sweating like during the hot summer months.   What we don’t realize is that our bodies are actually getting sucked dry from the cold dry air surrounding us in the winter.   Our skin cracks and lips get chapped from lack of water and the dry air.   Making sure to stay hydrated during the winter is crucial for you lymphatic system, which carries white blood cells to help fight off colds.   If you want to add some vitamin C and flavour to your water and some lemon to it.  You can also add a pinch of salt and cayenne to help hydrate you and give your immune system a little kick.

Do you have any helpful ideas on how to boost your immune system this winter?  We would love to hear from you.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy winter.

 

References

1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/22/dr-holick-vitamin-d-benefits.aspx

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/health/22real.html?_r=2&ref=health&

3. http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/kulreet-chaudhary-md/sleep-and-longevity

4. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/transcendental-meditation

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