How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System For Cold and Flu Season
1) Boost your vitamin D levels by spending time outside
Some scientists have suggested that one reason that cold and flu are seasonal is that people tend to stay inside in the winter and don’t get their recommended amount of Vitamin D. Your body naturally produces Vitamin D by being exposed to natural sunlight, so staying indoors reduces the amount of Vitamin D in your system. And since Vitamin D is crucial to your immune system, not getting enough of it can make you susceptible to the cold and flu.
But you don’t have to spend a great deal of time outside. In fact, your body produces your daily allowance of Vitamin D in just 10-15 minutes of moderate sun exposure! A short walk once a day can help boost your immune system! In addition to boosting your vitamin D, there are a bunch of other reasons to take a short walk every day.
2) Drink lots of tea
Tea, particularly green tea, is filled with antioxidants, which boost the immune system by neutralizing free radicals – a type of atom that can damage your body. Tea is loaded with catechins – a very specific type of antioxidant that prevents the breakdown of cells. Tea is especially high in catechins because it is usually minimally processed. Green tea has the added benefits of increasing blood flow and lowering cholesterol. Also, the warmth of the tea can soothe a sore throat, reduce congestion, and fight inflammation if you already have a cold.
3) Eat these foods:
Yogurt – Probiotics in yogurt keep your intestinal lining healthy. Probiotics are good bacteria that keep germs and other bad bacteria out of your stomach and digestive system. Just one cup of yogurt a day can help keep your digestive track healthy.
Garlic – Garlic contains a substance called Allicin, which, has antimicrobial properties and resists germs. According to research, it can also help prevent the common cold and reduce the symptoms once you have it. Check out our hummus recipe for an awesome, easy dish containing garlic.
Citrus – Citrus contains vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Drinking citrus fruit juice, or better yet – eating fruits themselves can increase your body’s Vitamin C levels. Citrus fruits are typically in-season in the winter, so you will find a great variety of fresh fruits in your grocery store. Citrus fruits also contain fiber, so eating the fruit rather than simply drinking the juice has added benefits.
Lean meat, like beef – Meats contain a great deal of zinc, which can help your body produce white blood cells. White blood cells fight viruses and bacteria, and keep your immune system healthy and able to fight off a cold. You can take zinc supplements, but you can also acquire it naturally by eating lean protein in the form of beef, lamb, chicken, and pork.