When you think cold and flu season, you likely think about boosting your immune system. The standard go-to items are vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc to help you prevent and shorten colds. I would say what’s as important, if not more so, is avoiding those immune busters to begin with.
The aforementioned core items are great at boosting the immune system, but another part of whole-body health is avoiding that which can reduce the immune system. Stress, diet, exercise, and sleep are huge factors in immune health and can be a make or break for avoiding illness in the winter season.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System During Cold and Flu Season
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Whole foods diet with appropriate calorie load. Studies have shown that, restricting calories by little as 10 percent have shown improved immune function. Supplements that can help – Appetite support. This helps with appetite suppression and mental energy. (1)
- Avoid Sugar.Avoiding simple added sugars from processed foods is a good start. Sugar can suppress immune function. Excess sugar can suppress the activity of white blood cells that fight infection by 50 percent. Supplement that can help – Chromium Picolinate. This helps with carbohydrate cravings, and insulin regulation. (2)
- Clock Enough Sleep Not getting solid sleep can negatively impact immune function by causing decrease in T-cells activity and increase in inflammatory cytokines. Supplements that help from our Sound Sleep Program are Herbal rest and melatonin. These can help with getting to sleep and staying asleep, as well as regulating circadian rhythms. (3)
- Reduce Stress.Prolonged stress can increase cortisol levels. Chronically high levels of cortisol can have immunosuppressive effects. Stress management through yoga, exercise, and guided imagery can lower cortisol levels and help boost immunity. Supplements that can help Cordyceps, Astragalus,. These can help with helping the body adapt to stress. (4)
- Get Exercise. This one is a combo of some of the above. When you work out you are reducing stress, boosting immune system, and may even improve sleep. Supplements that can help ashwagandha. This helps with muscle recovery and overall energy.
Eat right, sleep well, de-stress, and stay healthy!
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1. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018, July 16). How to boost your immune system. Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
2. Yu, S., Zhang, G., & Jin, L. (2018, May 01). A high-sugar diet affects cellular and humoral immune responses in Drosophila. Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014482718302623?via=ihub
3. Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2011). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 463(1), 121-37.
4. USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, April 29). Less is more when restraining calories boosts immunity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 21, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100429111015.htm