5 Tips to Boost Your Immune System This Winter
Winter is a time for cozy hangouts, soft blankets, hot chocolate, and fireplaces. But as we migrate indoors to enjoy the comforts of warmth and spend time in closer quarters with each other, it’s important to remember our immune systems. Few things can put a damper on your winter spirits like a case of sniffles and sneezes. But there are plenty of ways to ward off those germs and keep yourself and the people around you safe this winter.
Whether you decide to spend your winter curled up with a good book or partying with friends and family, be sure to stay safe and healthy. Here are five tips for boosting your immunity during the winter months.
1. Sip Your Favorite Tea
A nice hot cup of tea can do much more than keep you warm during the cold months. Studies have shown that drinking tea can provide several benefits, including effectively supporting your immune system.
Black and green teas contain loads of immune-boosting antioxidants called flavonoids. These are crucial to reversing the effects of excess hormone levels and stabilizing the levels of free radicals within your body, reducing the risk of illness and disease.
In addition, herbal teas have been shown to lower cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is a hormone produced by stress. In small amounts, cortisol serves a good purpose by limiting inflammation. However, your body can adapt to too much cortisol, which leads to more inflammation. More inflammation means a lowered immune response, and that leads to sickness.
Of course, if you’re going to have a warm cup of tea, be sure to use a light hand with the sugar. If you must sweeten your tea, raw honey is a great choice. Not only is it delicious, but it also packs some antioxidants.
2. Get Your Full Eight Hours Every Night
It may sound like a radical idea, but sleep is good. Your body depends on getting enough rest to repair and restore cellular function. Having normal cellular function is a huge part of your immune system.
During a sleep cycle, your immune system produces proteins called cytokines. Some of these are used to promote healthy sleep, but most are used to fight infections or inflammation. But if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your production of cytokines and other infection-fighting antibodies decreases. Without these antibodies, you are left more vulnerable to any germs and viruses that get introduced to your body.
If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation exercises before bed. Drink a glass of warm milk (or tea for an added benefit). Also, make sure you go entirely uninterrupted during your beauty rest. Seven to eight hours is the ideal amount of time you should sleep to recharge your immune batteries fully.
3. Take Care of Your Gut
Widely recognized as the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Centuries later, science is continuing to prove him right. The role your gut plays in your immune health cannot be overstated. It’s been said that a considerable portion of your immune system exists in your stomach. Therefore, supporting your gut health is vital for boosting your immunity, and fortunately, winter is a great time to do it.
Fermented foods are known to boost the good bacteria in your stomach. This promotes healthy digestion and takes stress off of your immune system. Fermentation was traditionally used to preserve foods during the cold winter months, meaning the holidays are the perfect time to break out the kimchi and sauerkraut. In addition, the most popular fermented foods tend to be vegetables, many of which have nutrients that can support immune health, too.
4. Get Moving
When the temperature starts dropping outside, your first instinct might be to slow down, relax, and rest more. However, keeping your body moving may be one of the healthiest things you can do for your immune system. You don’t even need to hit the gym. Just going for a 20-30 minute walk is enough to see a benefit.
Exercise increases blood flow, helps clear bacteria out of your airways, and reduces stress hormones. In addition, according to a 2019 scientific review, engaging in moderately intensive exercise can reduce rates of upper respiratory tract infections, including viruses like the common cold and the flu. In addition, regular exercise increases the production of white blood cells, which are the foot soldiers of your immune system. They directly fight off and protect your body from bacteria, viruses, and germs.
Other benefits exercise has for your immune system include:
- Improving your quality of sleep, which aids in the recovery of immune cells
- Elevating your body temperature, which can help fight infection
- Increasing bone density and decreasing odds of getting osteoporosis
- Increasing the activity of immune cells in the bloodstream, making them more effective
5. Think Zinc
When it comes to nutritional supplements that can help boost your immunity in winter, zinc reigns supreme. Zinc interacts with thousands of proteins in your body and assists in over 300 different enzyme processes. It improves wound-healing, thyroid function, gut health, blood clotting, vision, and smell. In addition, zinc functions as a powerful antioxidant.
Zinc is also crucial for the function of macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell. They work by collecting and destroying harmful bacteria and viruses as they travel through your body. However, if you aren’t getting enough zinc in your diet, your body produces fewer macrophages, limiting the effectiveness of your immune response.
But zinc isn’t the only supplement that can help you boost your immunity in winter. We’re all about health at K-Chill, so immunity support is high up on our list of priorities. We offer a wide variety of products that can help you relax, from K-Chill shots to K-Chill tinctures, all of which can help you reduce your stress, which does wonders for your immune health. So if you are looking for ways to chill out, relax, and stay healthy this winter, K-Chill can help. Check out our website to learn more about our line of products and their excellent benefits.