4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Immunity This Winter

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Winter is officially here, which means seasonal cold and flu virus season is also officially here, but you shouldn't rush to buy a new "immunity-boosting" multivitamin pill. Instead, consider these simple and effective tips, which have the potential to save you money on both supplements and medical visits.

1. Get Adequate Sleep

Adequate sleep plays a crucial role in keeping your body healthy. There is evidence that lack of sleep and the resulting stress response can lead to inflammation of the body and cause immunodeficiency. The recommended amount of sleep is between 7 and 9 hours for most adults and up to 13 to 14 hours for small children. Boost your immunity by making adequate sleep a priority. You will reap beauty benefits as well.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

2. Manage Your Stress

Studies have reported that an inflammatory response is initiated in the body during stressful events. According to the Ohio State University research team, psychological stress releases hormones that negatively affect the immune system. Stressful situations that can lead to inflammation include physical stress, social stress and even isolation.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

Consider embracing some strategies to control stress and avoid unnecessary stress triggers as much as possible. Exercising, proper nutrition and adequate sleep can help with controlling stress. Spending quality time with friends and loved ones can also strengthen your immunity.

3. Nutrition

Unsurprisingly, nutrition plays an important role in boosting your immune system and protecting you from getting sick. Evidence has shown that malnourished people are more susceptible to infections. Rather than following a specific diet, you may want to focus on incorporating foods that are rich in the micronutrients that protect from immunodeficiency, such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

Among the foods that you should eat (unless you are allergic to them) are:

  • Dark leafy greens (especially kale and spinach)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cooked mushrooms (especially Reishi, Enoki, Maitake). Do not consume mushrooms in a raw form, as some of them contain carcinogenic effects when they are raw.
  • Berries (especially elderberries, blueberries and strawberries, which are a good source of polyphenols)

4. Take Sunshine Vitamins

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential to our immune system. The best source of vitamin D is bare skin exposure to the sun's rays; however, due to the potential health risks for the skin, it is extremely important that you follow the recommendations provided by the Vitamin D Council.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

If for any reason you are not able to fulfill your nutritional needs or you are not able to get sun exposure for adequate Vitamin D intake, these are some supplements that you should consider taking:

  • Vitamin D: Take Vitamin D3 supplements, (which are more potent than Vitamin D2)
  • Omega 3: Fish oils are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. In particular, cod liver oil, is a good source of omega 3, and also a great source of Vitamin D.

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