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3 Ways to Boost Your Immune System This Winter
With different viruses and illnesses going around during the winter season, they pose the risk of affecting your holiday season with loved ones. To try and avoid getting sick, you may be looking for ways to boost your immunity.
Protecting yourself from winter illnesses is important to help keep your body healthy and strong throughout the holiday season. Here are 3 easy ways to boost your immune system this winter.
Eat a Healthy Diet
There are many benefits to eating healthy, and strengthening your immunity is one of them. A healthy diet can help you keep your immune system strong not just during the winter but throughout the year.
Here are some healthy foods that have been found to boost your immune system:
- Fruits. Fruits are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants that can keep you healthy. Citrus fruits are even better to boost your immunity because they contain high levels of vitamin C. Oranges, clementines, grapefruits, lemons, and limes have all been linked to higher levels of immunity.
- Vegetables. Vegetables are another great addition to your meals that can help you stay healthy. Foods such as broccoli and spinach have been found to contain vitamins and fiber that will boost your immunity.
- Ginger. Ginger has been found to decrease inflammation, sore throat, and nausea. This will help fight off bacteria or any illness you may have.
- Yogurt. Yogurt with live and active cultures, such as living bacteria, can help your immune system fight viruses.2
- Green tea. Green tea has antioxidants, such as flavonoids, that can promote a healthy immune system. Green tea also contains amino acids, like L-theanine, that can help with the production of compounds that fight germs.1
Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Many foods that people eat on a daily basis can cause inflammation, which causes your immune system to struggle.3 A body that is constantly inflamed can put you at risk for catching a virus or illness.
Here are a few tips to help reduce the amount of inflammatory foods in your diet:
- Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats found in baked goods, dairy, and red meat have been found to cause inflammation.
- Avoid trans fats. Trans fats not only cause inflammation, but they’re also bad for your heart. Many manufacturers have eliminated trans fats from their foods and products because of the negative effects. Hydrogenated oils on the labeling are a good indicator that you’re eating trans fats. Some of the foods that commonly contain these fats are cookies, crackers, margarine, and biscuits.
- Increase omega-3s fats. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and good for your heart. Some fish such as salmon and tuna are good sources of omega-3.
- Reduce processed foods. Try to limit the amount of processed foods you eat such as pre-packaged cookies, crackers, refined breads, and processed meat such as hot dogs.
Rest is essential to keep yourself healthy and functioning. Getting enough rest can also help boost your immune system.
- There is an increased production of cytokines, driven by sleep and circadian rhythm, which helps with fighting infections and the recovery processes in the body.
- Sleep strengthens immune memory just like it strengthens brain memory. This allows the immune system to remember and recognize antigens that are harmful to the body.
Ultimately, sleep allows your body to recover and strengthen the immune system. There are links between lack of sleep and illnesses.
Here are some other reasons why getting enough sleep or rest is important:
- Sleep promotes concentration
- Sleep promotes a healthy heart
- Sleep impacts your reaction time
- Sleep promotes a healthy appetite5
Winter is known as “flu season”. The flu is caused by the influenza viruses, which mutates and changes each year. It’s contagious and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.
The flu spreads by droplets from talking, sneezing, and coughing. People can catch the flu if they are exposed to these droplets from an infected person or if they touch an infected surface. The flu is contagious even if someone doesn’t show symptoms.
Here are some facts about the flu shot:
- The flu shot has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu
- The flu shot can reduce the severity of the virus
- The effectiveness of the flu shot will vary from person to person
- The flu shot can decrease your chance of passing the flu to someone else
Stay Healthy This Winter
Saber Healthcare wishes you and your loved ones a healthy and safe winter season. Try these tips to help boost your immune system this season.
Here at Saber Healthcare, we encourage our residents and staff to take precautionary measures and to get the flu shot every year to help protect themselves and those around them. To learn more about Saber Healthcare and the services we provide, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Schend, James. “15 Foods That Boost the Immune System.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. April 30th, 2020. Accessed November 24th, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system.
- “Live & Active Cultures Seal.” International Dairy Foods Association, idfa.org. Accessed December 1st, 2021. https://www.idfa.org/live-active-cultures-seal.
- “What to Eat to Boost Your Immune System.” Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials. October 20th, 2021. Accessed November 24th, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/food-to-boost-your-immune-system/.
- Suni, Eric. “How Sleep Affects Immunity.” OneCare Media, Sleep Foundation. November 19th, 2020. Accessed November 30th, 2021. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/how-sleep-affects-immunity.
- “7 Reasons Why Getting Enough Sleep is Important.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. August 16th, 2021. Accessed November 29th, 2021. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/why-sleep-is-important.
- “Why You Should Get the Flu Shot.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. October 19th, 2020. Accessed November 29th, 2021. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/why-you-should-get-the-flu-shot.