15 Tips That Will Keep You Healthy This Cold Season
With cold and flu season upon us, it’s more important now than ever to boost your immune system so you can stay healthy. A healthy immune system is your body’s best defense against nasty germs and viruses that can knock you down for days or even weeks. Here are 15 ways you can build a strong immune system.
Immune system boosting foods
A healthy diet is crucial for staying healthy all year long. Here are some of the best foods to enjoy for a healthy immune system.
1. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are sort of a superfood when it comes to building a healthy immune system. Red bell peppers, in particular, are special because of their vitamin C levels. In fact, red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits!
As an added bonus, red bell peppers contain a lot of beta carotene, which can keep you healthy and protect your skin. Bell peppers are incredibly versatile. Throw a handful into your morning omelet, chop one up in your lunchtime salads, or treat yourself to a healthy snack of red bell peppers and hummus.
2. Citrus fruits
Everyone knows that citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for increasing the number of white blood cells that are in your body, which are the cells that fight off infections. Your body doesn’t store vitamin C or produce it naturally, so make sure you’re incorporating citrus into your daily diet for a natural dose of this wonder vitamin.
If you’re getting sick of oranges, don’t worry. The benefits from the vitamin C that are in grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, and tangerines. Spritz a lemon over your salad or juice a grapefruit into your morning smoothie for a tasty dose of vitamin C.
Known for its ability to ward off vampires, garlic is also helpful in building a healthy immune system. That’s because it has compounds that contain sulfur, like allicin, which is thought to improve the immune system’s response. Garlic may also help lower blood pressure. Add garlic to your meals for a delicious way to improve your health. (Note: Garlic might interfere with blood thinners, so talk to a doctor before taking garlic supplements if you’re taking a blood thinner.)
The vegetable that loves to be hated is really good at keeping you healthy. For best results, eat it raw. If you can’t stomach raw broccoli, cook it as little as possible to get the most benefits of this nutrient-dense superfood. It’s full of antioxidants plus vitamins A, C, and E.
Like broccoli, spinach is best consumed in its raw form. Add some to your salads or smoothies for a daily boost of vitamin C. If you do cook it, you’ll benefit from the vitamin A that gets released, so don’t be afraid to cook some spinach in your omelet, pasta, or favorite dish.
Vitamin C gets all the glory for preventing the common cold, but vitamin E is also essential to a healthy immune system. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E. You can get nearly your full recommended daily dose of vitamin E from just a half of a cup of almonds.
7. Green tea
Green tea is full of antioxidants, including epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which can boost your body’s immune response. Drink a cup of green tea every day to benefit from this powerful antioxidant.
Papaya flies under the radar, but it’s actually the best fruit you can eat to improve your immune system. Just one papaya contains 224 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C.
Mom is right when she makes you eat chicken soup every time you get sick. Poultry, which includes chicken and turkey, has been shown to help your body regenerate red blood cells. Chicken and turkey bone broth can help your gut along with your immune system.
10. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Other ways to build a strong immune system
Good nutrition is just part of the equation when it comes to warding off infectious diseases. Here are other ways to stay healthy and keep your immune system in top shape.
11. Exercise regularly
Moderate exercise is good for you in a lot of ways, including helping build a healthy immune system. Regular exercise can increase the number of white blood cells in your body, making it more likely that your body will ward off germs and invaders faster. Exercising also lowers your stress levels, which can keep you healthier longer.
If you have a cold, moderate exercise, such as a walk or a relaxing bike ride, can help you feel better. If you have the flu or are feeling very ill, you’re better off staying in bed.
12. Wash your hands regularly
Follow the rules of good hygiene by washing your hands regularly, even when it’s not flu season.
13. Get enough sleep
Lost of rest is the best recipe for your body to help allow it to fight off infections than one that’s exhausted. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night to keep your body healthy.
14. Drink plenty of water
Stay hydrated all year long to help your body flush out toxins and get enough oxygen to your red blood cells. Aim for at least 10 8-ounce glasses per day (more if you’re exercising regularly or are in the heat).
15. Drink in moderation
The holiday season tends to include festive drinks. Drink alcohol in moderation to stay healthy. Have a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks to keep yourself hydrated and to prevent yourself from overdoing it.