The weather is changing, which means cold and flu season is upon us.
Not my favorite time of the year, definitely. I mean, who wants to be saddled with a stuffy nose and incessant coughing right in the middle of an important meeting? (Yep, that’s me.)
Most people are more susceptible to colds when the weather changes. So it’s important to boost your immune system to get the upper hand in terms of preventing the occurrence of cold and flu.
But let’s be realistic here.
Strengthening our immune system isn’t exactly a simple task. For one thing, the immune system is a system, not an independent unit. It is intricate and requires harmony and balance of a whole lot of components to ensure it functions well.
I know I read like I’m talking about a car, but you get my drift, right?
There’s still a lot that researchers don’t understand about the complexity of the immune response. But general healthful strategies are a great start to giving your immune system the upper hand against harmful bacteria and infections that can lead to illnesses.
I’ve identified two important steps to boost your immune system. You’re probably thinking—just two? But, you’ll understand why when you read on.
1. Choose a healthy lifestyle
This is possibly the single most important step toward strengthening your immune system. Your immune system—and every part of your body—functions more efficiently when shielded against environmental assaults and reinforced by healthy-living. And if you’re really determined, they’re not so complicated:
- Don't smoke.
- Get regular exercise.
- Drink alcohol moderately.
- Get enough sleep.
- Frequently wash your hands.
- Minimize stress.
I’m pretty sure you already know these. But it helps to be reminded, doesn’t it?
2. Follow a diet that’s high in fruits, vegetables, and some nuts!
To prevent colds and the flu, try these immunity-boosting foods that are sure to help build up your defense system against the most common winter sickness.
Red bell peppers
You may think citrus fruits contain the highest amount of vitamin C among any fruit or vegetable, but you’ve got another thought coming. Red bell peppers actually have twice as much vitamin C as citrus. And they’re also quite rich in beta-carotene. This means, aside from strengthening your immune system, and helping support healthy skin (which Vitamin C also does), red bell peppers can also help keep your eyes healthy.
One of my favorite veggies, broccoli is rich in vitamins and minerals. High in vitamins A, C, and E, along with fiber and other antioxidants, broccoli is possibly one of the most healthful vegetables you can ever have. It’s important to remember, however, that to maintain its healthy richness, broccoli needs to be cooked as little as possible. Hey, if you can handle eating it raw, all the better!
Spinach is chock-full of multiple antioxidants and beta-carotene, which increase your body’s infection-fighting abilities. Just like broccoli, spinach retains its nutrients when it’s cooked as little as possible. On the other hand, light cooking can enrich its vitamin A content and paves the way for other nutrients to be released as well.
Almonds are packed in vitamin E and contain healthy fats. Just a half a cup contains almost 100% of the daily amount you need! While not as popular as vitamin C, vitamin E is important for building up your immunity. Not to mention they’re a yummy snack.
I have to admit that this isn’t exactly my favorite fruit, but it’s definitely loaded with vitamin C. One papaya actually contains more than 200% of the daily recommended vitamin C. It also has a digestive enzyme (papain) that’s anti-inflammatory, a decent amount of potassium, vitamin B, and folate. An all-together impressive fruit, huh?
Kiwi is another fruit that naturally contains essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and K, folate, and potassium. While vitamin C increases white blood cells that help you combat infection, the other nutrients help your body function properly.
Oh, these I love! Full of important nutrients like vitamin B-6, magnesium, and phosphorous, sunflower seeds are also super high in vitamin E, containing more than 80% of the daily recommended amount in a quarter-cup.
Elderberries are rich in flavonoids, which help boost the immune system and keep it strong.
While not commonly known for its ability to treat colds and flu, there’s evidence these berries contain antiviral compounds that deactivate viruses and render them unable to penetrate the cell wall and replicate.
We at Havasu Nutrition are big fans of elderberries!
We offer two types of all-natural Elderberry immune health support: the Elderberry Capsules made from elderberry extracts, guaranteed to deliver a concentrated amount of the protective antioxidant, and the Elderberry Gummies, a delicious and convenient way to include the amazing immune-supporting elderberry fruit in your diet.
Eating right is a great start, but taking supplements will definitely give you a leg-up in terms of boosting your immune system!
Interested to learn more? Reach out to us here and stay healthy this changing season!