The winter months can take a toll on your immune system. However, there are vital steps that you can (and should) take to help build immunity when the weather gets colder, which is also the time when many illnesses become more prevalent. Fortunately, a skilled allergist can make recommendations to improve your immune system and potentially fight off winter colds, the flu, and other ailments that may be floating around, including COVID-19. While good hygiene, wearing a mask, and social distancing can eliminate some risk of contracting an illness, you can also protect yourself more by boosting your immune system.
Getting enough physical activity is vital for many aspects of your health, including building a stronger immune system. Your immune system cells become activated with exercise, which means it is important to get exercise daily during winter to fortify your immune system’s defenses. Making time each day for aerobic activities such as biking, walking, and dancing will support your immune system. If you work a desk job that requires spending hours at the computer, breaking up your day by getting up and moving periodically will also boost your activity levels and decrease sitting time.
Get Your Vitamin D
Sunlight tends to be less readily available in the winter months, which means you won’t get as much Vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins for boosting immunity. Since sunlight is more limited in the wintertime, it is important to replenish your Vitamin D supplies by taking vitamins if you can’t get sufficient amounts of sunlight. Ideally, you should aim to get about 400 to 1,000 IU of Vitamin D each day. Studies have shown that this amount of Vitamin D is sufficient to protect against respiratory problems, including the common cold and flu. People who live in northern climates are more likely to get insufficient levels of Vitamin D and benefit from taking supplements.
Eat Your Fiber
It might sound surprising, but fiber is another item that will improve your immunity. Many immune cells are located in the walls of your intestines, which means that consuming a diet with foods high in fiber will help the “good” bacteria in your digestive tract to thrive. Additionally, there are many good microbes in your digestive system that help make it stronger. Those microbes thrive on whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruit, which are foods that contain prebiotic fiber. Providing the microbes with the sustenance they need will make them happy, making your body healthier overall.
Get Enough Sleep
If there is one thing in your busy schedule that tends to go first, sleep is usually it. It might be easy and tempting to forego sleep, but your physical and mental health may suffer as a result. Your brain and body both need sufficient amounts of sleep to make your immune system healthy. In order for your brain and body to restore properly, you need to get sufficient amounts of sleep. On average, people need to get about 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you are not getting enough sleep, you’ll want to take a look at your schedule to figure out why and make adjustments to your routine as needed.
Eat Colorful Foods
As odd as it may sound, an allergy specialist in Las Vegas will say that eating foods with a variety of color can strengthen your immune system. A diet that is rich in colorful foods will also mean that you are getting a variety of minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. All of those elements are called antioxidants, and they all play a significant role in supporting the health of your immune system.
Having too much stress in your life has a negative effect on your mind, body, and immune system. Stress can come from many different sources, and it is important to try to eliminate stress as much as possible for a better immune system, even if you can’t get rid of stress completely. When you put your body under higher levels of stress, your body instinctively goes into fight-or-flight mode. If the stress is intense or chronic, your immune system can become significantly compromised as a result. If you can’t figure out ways to reduce stress on your own, or if your stress comes from multiple sources, practicing general relaxation techniques can improve your health and well-being. Spending more time away from stressors and possible sources of upset or unrest, such as the news and social media, can reduce your stress levels. Getting enough sleep will also help to keep your stress levels under control. Doing yoga can help, as can reading a good book, taking a bath before bedtime, or even catching up on sleep. You may also consider scheduling a massage and even making it a regular habit to keep your stress levels under control.
An Immune-Boosting Diet
If you are wondering, “what do the best allergists near me prescribe for optimal health,” they’ll say eating foods that provide health benefits is key. Eating a healthy variety of foods will ensure that you get adequate amounts of protein, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to help reduce inflammation and give you a healthy immune system. Eating fruits and vegetables in an array of colors is a good way to get enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You should also strive to consume healthy fats, such as:
- Olive Oil
Fermented foods, including kimchi, kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut, are other good choices for creating a diet that translates to immune system health.
Certain herbs and spices are another excellent option, including garlic, black pepper, turmeric, and ginger.
Along with providing protein and healthy fats, seeds and nuts are also a top option if you want to have a healthy, nutritious diet and keep your immune system working in top condition. Even food items that you might not necessarily associate with premium health, including dark chocolate, can be great for improving immunity. Green tea is another item that promotes good health and immunity. You can always consult an allergy specialist in Las Vegas to find out more about the options available for making your immune system stronger through eating the right foods.
Foods to Avoid
Just as there are some foods that are good for health and immunity, there are others that you should avoid. Foods that have added sugars are counterproductive to improving immunity, as are fast food and junk food. Foods that contain trans fats should also be avoided, along with fried and processed food. Cakes, cookies, pasta, pastries, and white bread, all foods with refined carbohydrates, are not a good choice if you are looking for foods that will improve your immune system strength. Processed meats should be avoided as well if you want a healthier and more robust immune system. It is a good idea to limit your alcohol consumption as well.
Supplements may also be beneficial for your immune system, as the experts at Tottori Allergy and Asthma will tell you. However, as the name suggests, supplements should be used to supplement a healthy lifestyle but not replace it altogether. Additionally, some adults may be deficient in specific nutrients and therefore benefit from supplements.
If you are wondering, “Where can I get an allergy shot?” do not hesitate to contact Tottori Allergy and Asthma to set up an appointment at your earliest convenience.