It’s that time of the year. The kids come home with colds, you get a cough, and all you can think of is whether or not you have enough sick time to cover all the time off you’ll need this winter. You’re tired from late nights, you’re not eating well because you’re so busy, and frankly, you spend all your daytime indoors. It’s no wonder you are getting sick.
Your immune system is surprisingly resilient, but it’s also affected by your habits. I’ve learned over the years that I can do simple things to stay healthy throughout the winter months, get sick less often, and recover more quickly.
If you’re ready, here are my top 5 immune-boosting tips to stay healthy in the winter.
- Sleep. I know, this sounds odd but a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your immune system. Sleep helps your body recover, regenerate cells, and even helps your body create more T-cells. Those are a specific type of cell in your immune system that help ward off viruses and bacteria.
- Go Outside. During the day. Your body uses sunlight to produce Vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin is one of the most underrated immune-boosting vitamins. Take a walk on your break and keep your face exposed. On warmer days, pull up your sleeves to leave your arms exposed too. It’s important to get 15-30 minutes of sunlight daily. As a bonus, increased sunlight exposure during the day helps you sleep better at night.
- Say goodbye to sugar. Okay, hear me out. We all love our desserts. We love sugar and syrups in our coffee, and we love to drink juice. Okay, maybe that juice part is just me and my kids, but the point is that while these things taste amazing, they aren’t the best for our immune systems, especially during the winter months. Just one serving of sugar can reduce your immunity for 6-8 hours. YIKES. If you’re really serious about boosting your immune system now, it’s time to give sugar the boot.
- Boost your Vitamin C intake daily. I’m not talking about a measly 500 mg. Your immune system, especially during the cold, dark winter, needs enough Vitamin C to ward off sickness. Your immune cells uptake C like crazy, especially when you get sick or you’re exposed to viruses and bacteria. It’s best to take 1,000-2,000 mg a day during the winter. I give my kids 500-1,000 mg or so daily as well. I use powdered Sodium Ascorbate and mix it with water for myself and the kids. It’ll taste a little salty, but it’s much easier to take than Ascorbic Acid which is super sour. Your body also uptakes the Sodium Ascorbate better into the cells.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I know. Winter is more of a potato and casserole kind of season, but fresh produce does amazing things for your immune system. It’s filled with vital nutrients that we all desperately need. So eat a salad, nibble some raw veggies from a platter, grab a piece of fruit for dessert, add some chopped veggies to an omelet. You’ll be surprised at how good it makes your body feel. For an added boost, orange and yellow vegetables contain some of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, and antioxidants.
The great thing about habits is that they can be changed. It may take some getting used to, but when you prioritize sleep over scrolling the internet, wholesome foods over sugar, and supplementing during the winter, you can get a stronger immune system that’s able to handle those colds like a champ.