The seasons are changing. Leaves are falling down and the temperature is dropping by the day - it’s fall! Everybody loves this season for its beautiful, picture worthy views and snuggling on the couch with a fuzzy blanket.
Sadly it’s also infamous for something else: the flu.
In these unsure times it is important to take care of yourself and to give your immune system a hand. Here are some ways to help improve your immune system naturally.
Eat healthy food
You hopefully already do eat your veggies. If not, here is your reminder! Fruit and vegetables are an essential source of vitamins and minerals for your body. Not all fruits or all vegetables are the same, they vary in vitamins and fibers. Eat different fruits and vegetables each day to get all the nutrients your body needs.
In fall and winter there is less sunlight available. Sunset occurs earlier on the day and cloudy days are very common. Your skin uses sunlight (UVB-light) to make vitamin D. This vitamin plays a role in our immune system. Make sure to go outside during the day to catch some of those few sunrays or debate taking supplements.
Exercising improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and keeps your body healthy in general. It may even contribute directly to your immune system by making your blood circulate faster and thus moving white blood cells and antibodies faster through your body. This helps your immune system detect illnesses more quickly.
An easy way to exercise daily is to go on a 30 minute walk every day. Make it part of your routine by always going on a walk at a set time, like after lunch. This will also help with the vitamin D - sunlight problem.
Catch those Z’s
Sleep is essential in the upkeep of your body. At night your brain sorts the information you dealt with that day, creating your long term memories. Sleeping releases a growth hormone which helps your body recover and repair itself. This is also the reason why sleep is so important for your kid’s growth.
Sleep affects how fast you can recover when you get sick. At night your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. These proteins are needed to fight off an infection or inflammation. They help battle stress as well. Not getting enough sleep may cause a decreased production of these protective cytokines.
Relax a little - me time is important
Stress does not only affect you mentally, but also physically. So, try to relax a little… You rolled your eyes, didn’t you? Because “relaxing a little” is easier said than done and telling yourself to relax can make you even more stressed.
Things that might help empty your head:
- Doing things with your hands. Take up a new hobby like painting (with numbers), sculpting, knitting, baking bread. Crafting something can really redirect your focus.
- Taking a nice warm bath. A relaxed body can relax your mind as well. Plus during a bath you will truly have some time for yourself, which helps to sort your thoughts.
- Exercise. By focussing on the task at hand, your mind calms down about other things.
Does having a good immune system mean I won’t get sick?
Even someone with an awesome immune system can catch the flu. Having a good immune system and being healthy makes it easier for your body to battle against all kinds of ailments. It may also help you recover faster after you’ve been ill. Next to that exercising daily and eating healthy makes you feel better mentally, which is a big plus during the darker winter days.