5 Tips for Winter Immune Health
You’re taking your vitamin C and washing your hands, but do you wonder if there is more you could do to improve your immune health this season? Here are 5 tips for winter wellness that you may not have even thought of!
We all know excessive sugar consumption isn’t healthy, but did you know that it's also bad for immune health? Sugar suppresses the immune system, which makes you more susceptible to catching colds and other unwanted "bugs." If you can't imagine winter without hot chocolate or baked goods, look for naturally lower-sugar or sugar-free options. We love NOW's Slender Hot Cocoa Mix and natural sweeteners like Sugarless Sugar™ for baking. (Check out a previous post for more ideas to reduce dietary sugar intake!)
Get some air.
In the winter, germs circulate freely indoors where there is little access to fresh air. Cracking a window for brief periods in the cold weather can do a lot to help freshen the air indoors. If it’s way too cold or you don’t have access to windows (e.g. an office environment), try using a diffuser and a purifying essential oil to help freshen the air. (We use Nature’s Shield and Clear the Air oil blends in our office diffuser!)
Physical activity not only helps you stay in shape, but it also strengthens your immune system in shape. There is a need for balance, however; if you’re already fighting something, a heavy workout can weaken your system and make you more susceptible to getting sick. If you're feeling run-down, keep your physical activity light, such as going for a walk instead of pounding the treadmill. And of course, get extra rest! When you’re feeling healthy, exercise as usual several days per week to optimize your immunity.
Stress is a major contributor to immune system burnout, so make sure you manage stress healthfully. Even if you think you don't have time for a break, remember that regular R&R ultimately takes less time than being sick and missing work or school! Get together with a friend, enjoy a favorite book or movie, or just take a nap-- whatever helps you recharge and de-stress will help your immune system.
Go to bed.
Lack of sleep will not only deplete you of energy, it will also weaken your immune health. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to keep your defenses strong. If you have trouble winding down at night, turn off electronic devices early in the evening and enjoy a cup of relaxing tea. For occasional sleeplessness, consider using melatonin or an herbal supplement for additional support.
How do you stay well in the winter months? Share your favorite tips in the comments below!
*Content contained in this article is not intended to provide or to constitute medical or healthcare advice. Nor can it be relied upon as preventative care, cure, or treatment for any disease or medical condition. You should consult a qualified healthcare professional for advice regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting any supplementation, nutritional, exercise, or other medical program.