Integrative Nutrition Blog
The Best Ways to Boost Your Immunity in the Winter
In the winter, it’s hard not to get sick – there are literally germs everywhere. Whether you catch a bug at work or while traveling, it can be difficult to get through the day when you’re not feeling like yourself. However, you can prevent cold and flu symptoms by keeping a healthy lifestyle during the colder months. With a few simple tricks, you can keep your immunity up and those sniffles at bay.
Supplement with Vitamin D
It’s hard to find ample sunshine in the middle of winter, so your vitamin D stores are bound to decrease. Although vitamin D is best known for its role in skeletal health, it’s also essential for proper immune function. Deficiency may lead to a reduced ability to respond properly to infection. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of the flu. If you can’t get out into the sunshine for at least 30 minutes a day, try to eat foods rich in vitamin D, like fortified milk, cereal, fish, liver, and eggs yolks. In the winter, a supplement may also help ensure adequate levels and reduce the risk of illness.
Eat Foods Rich in Zinc
Research has shown that zinc can boost your immune system, so an increased consumption of zinc-rich foods may stop you from coming down with a virus in the first place. Zinc is found in a variety of foods, but particularly good sources of this mineral include liver, beef, cashews, and sunflower seeds. For an extra boost, zinc lozenges may also help. In fact, they may shorten the duration of a cold in adults.
Make Sleep a Priority
Adequate sleep is essential for optimal health, but it is often one of the first things to go when we’re busy. During the winter months, when we may be more exposed to germs, getting adequate sleep can be an important way to support your immune system. In fact, a large study found that women who sleep less than five hours a night have a significantly higher chance (70%) of pneumonia compared with women who sleep for eight hours. Individuals who sleep less than six hours a night may also have an increased susceptibility to colds.
How do you stay healthy in the winter? Please share your tips below!