Winter is here…
During this time of year, our immune system weakens which means were at a greater risk of catching some sort of sickness. After exercise, our immune system weakens as well, so in combination, both of these can be quite detrimental to our health and well-being.
The reason why I’ve created this blog is to convince people of the powerful effects healthy nutrition has on our health. And again, here it is to prove my point. Indeed, proper nutrition during the winter season can offset the drop in immune system function. This, of course, is provided you are doing the right things to stay strong and healthy.
That said, here’s what you can do to boost your immune system and beat the winter sniffles:
1. Avoid Dehydration
When your body is dehydrated, the ability to remove toxins and waste diminishes. In turn, this increases the chance of catching some sort of illness. For this reason, always stay hydrated to boost the immune system and help the body flush out toxins and fight infection.
2. Reduce Stress
When we face stress or anxiety, the stress hormone, cortisol, increases. Stress may influence the way our body works, more specifically hormone levels and the ability to defend itself. As hard as this may be at times, try to avoid stressing yourself too much during the winter season to keep healthy and vibrant!
3. Avoid Rapid Weight Loss
Suddenly decreasing your energy (caloric) intake can be harmful to your health. Make sure you’re eating enough during this time period, especially foods rich in vitamins and minerals (i.e. fruits and vegetables) to support your body with the necessary nutrients needed to fight off infection.
4. Increase Protein intake
When people hear protein, they automatically think muscles. While this is true, there’s more to protein than just muscle growth and recovery. There are many components (i.e. antibodies) which make up a strong immune system, and such components are comprised of protein. Hence, increase your protein intake during the winter to build a stronger and more functioning immune system.
5. Increase Sleep
Similar to stress, a lack of sleep can alter hormone levels within the body – more so cortisol levels. The less hours of sleep you get, the more cortisol is increased within the body and the weaker your immune system gets. Studies show that poor sleep is also coupled with poor food choices. Eating unhealthily and not sleeping enough is only a call for trouble.
6. Improve Hygiene
Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands during the day. Perhaps even use hand sanitizers whenever possible and avoid touching your face with dirty hands. Again, our immune system already weakens during the winter season, so you don’t want to further dampen immunity by ingesting your body with bad bacteria. Stay clean!
The way I like to think about the immune system and health is in relation to exercise. I definitely want to feel healthy and strong to avoid the unpleasant feeling of being sick, but it’s more about developing a strong immune to keep fit and exercise daily. The idea of having to sit at home and not exercise because of illness is something I can’t fathom. That’s what motivates me to eat and sleep well and something for you to think about. Regardless, I highly urge you to implement these tips into your lifestyle during the winter season. Stay healthy, feel strong, live well.