Being sick stinks! But just because the temps are cooling off that doesn’t mean it has to happen to you.
You can dodge the seemingly incessant flow of germs that are freely passed around in the fall and winter months by taking extra steps to support your immune system. Here are 10 simple, all-natural ways to alter your lifestyle so you are flu- and cold-resistant this year:
- Hydrate – dehydration weakens the immune system as it relies on fluid to flush toxins. In addition, dehydration makes you feel droopy; it’s the #1 cause of daytime fatigue. Make sure you drink enough pure, filtered water throughout the day—68 ounces is the rule of thumb, but you should drink more if you feel parched (as that’s a clear sign of dehydration).
- Sleep – sleep deprivation takes its toll on the immune system because your cells regenerate while you rest. To avoid feeling run down, get at least 7-9 hours sleep, and practice good sleep hygiene (going to bed and rising at roughly the same time each night).
- Sweat –when you sweat, you release toxins and rev up your metabolism. In addition, when your body heats up, you produce more white blood cells, which are basically the immune’s system’s army!
- Reduce Sugar Intake – sugar and other refined foods suppress the immune system and load you up with empty calories that are devoid of the essential nutrients you need to stay healthy.
- Neti Pot – regularly using the neti pot (which involves pouring distilled saline through your nasal passages) assists the body’s natural defenses by cleaning out any bacteria, allergens, and other irritants from the cilia of your nose.
- Ginger Tea – brewing fresh ginger tea provides your body with ample antioxidants to help fortify your immune system. Because it’s a warming spice, it is especially protective when it’s cold and windy outside.
- Echinacea – long been used to support the immune system, you can enjoy echinacea in tea or tincture form to help prevent and shorten the duration of a cold.
- Garlic – garlic and onion are part of the allicin family, which contains potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Eaten raw it’s most effective, but if you (or those around you) can’t stomach that, lightly cooked garlic will provide ample defense during cold and flu season.
- Probiotics – since the majority of the immune system is located in the gut, adding additional healthy bacteria in the form of high-quality probiotics aids in immunity and keeps the “bad” bacteria in check.
- Andrographis Paniculata – for centuries, Ayurvedic practitioners have used this herb to treat a wide range of ailments, but it has more recently been recognized as a potent immune system stimulant. Available in tablets and dried, this is your secret weapon against cold-weather maladies!