Supporting your immune system is important year-round, but is even more essential during the late fall and winter months. The colder weather means we spend more time indoors and in enclosed spaces, plus, viruses like the common cold tend to live longer on surfaces due to the cooler temperatures.
One way to avoid becoming sick during the holiday season and beyond is by strengthening your immune system. Read on for some tips for how to support your immune system this year – some of them are surprisingly easy!
Why Your Immune System is Important
At a basic level, you likely know that your immune system works tirelessly to help keep you healthy and feeling your best. However, it’s actually a vast and complex interconnected system of organs, cells, and proteins constantly working together to defend against disease-causing microorganisms.
Your immune system, when in peak condition, can quickly defend against germs, bacteria, and parasites that cause the common cold and flu (along with other viruses and diseases) all while protecting healthy tissue. Our immune system is something we’re born with, but it also continuously adapts and learns new things when it’s exposed to a new germ for the first time. Whenever it fights off these germs, you often show symptoms of being sick. However, this is just your body’s response to fighting off new germs, and afterward, your immune system will be better equipped to fight these invaders if they return!
How to Help Support Your Immune System
But just because your immune system is adaptable doesn’t mean you can’t take proactive measures to help support it. These are just a few tips for how to help support your immune system:
If you’ve ever wondered how to support your immune system naturally, one of the first things you should turn to is food. While no meal or supplement will cure or prevent disease, many foods can help to build up your immune system year-round or help you recover from being sick more quickly. They include:
- Citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges which are high in vitamin C
- Red bell peppers actually contain three times more vitamin C than oranges!
- Garlic has long been known for its immune-boosting properties (so don’t feel bad doubling or tripling the amount most recipes call for depending on your personal taste)
- Not only does ginger taste great, but it’s also been known to decrease inflammation
- Spinach is packed with antioxidants and is great in salads and smoothies (or eaten on its own)
- Foods high in healthy fats like almonds, yogurt, and salmon can all support your immune system with their anti-inflammatory properties
While these aren’t the only foods that can help boost your immune system, they are some of the most readily available and are easy to incorporate into your diet.
If you want to take the guesswork out of ensuring your body is getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy immune system, you may want to consider supplements.
These are some of the micronutrients and vitamins that are essential for immune health and that you can add to your daily routine:
- Vitamins C, A, and D
- Selenium to help balance and regulate your immune system
Before incorporating any new vitamins or supplements into your routine it’s important to consult with your doctor. Some individuals with medical conditions may not be able to tolerate certain amounts of these micronutrients.
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your immune system. In fact, sleep and immunity are so closely tied that inadequate or poor quality slumbers are directly linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness.
When you sleep well, you’re strengthening your body’s natural immunity. Even if you’re already feeling under the weather, a restful night’s sleep (ideally one that allows you to achieve REM sleep) gives your body the time it needs to rest, recharge, and better fight off illnesses.
Snap Kitchen’s Immune Boosting Meals
If you want to incorporate more foods that will naturally support your immune system, Snap Kitchen can help. Not only are our meals easy to make (no prep or clean-up required!), but they’re also always made with fresh ingredients, many of which include natural immune-boosters. An example is our Cajun Salmon with Braised Greens and Bacon.
Want to learn more about how to support your immune system with delicious, easy-to-make meals? Check out the Snap Kitchen blog for inspiration and tips!