Winter is here and apart from the joy it brings for many of us who love colder temps, there’s one thing I’m always looking to help: my immune system. Actually, I pride myself in having a killer immune system, but the colder weather and lower humidity can affect us.
To avoid spending the entire winter season sniffling, sneezing and sipping on soups, I recommend we take a little bit of extra care with some targeted nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Here are a few of my best tips for staying healthy this winter.
5 Tips to Help Stay Healthy
Exercise is great for boosting your immunity. It allows white blood cells to circulate more rapidly throughout your body and helps to further supporting your respiratory system.
I love exercising outside in the winter, but if cold weather isn’t your thing, you can still get your body moving every day. Besides hitting the gym, I recently bought this upside down trainer and it’s been so fun to play around with inversions! Other indoor activities include the stationary bike or Peloton, treadmill walking or watching one of the millions of free exercise videos on YouTube! Aim for a good 30 minutes each day.
Eat The Rainbow
Food is your best source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, so make sure you fill half your plate with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables daily.
Consider immune-boosting produce rich in vitamin C like bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli and strawberries. Green leafy vegetables like kale also contain tons of antioxidants and vitamins (like folate and vitamin C) to help strengthen your immune system.
My advice is to strive each day to eat the rainbow! The phytonutrients in plants are very functional – especially when it comes to helping your body’s natural detoxification systems and boosting your immune system.
Wash Your Hands
Working at a hospital as a Dietitian, you get really comfortable washing your hands…a lot. I couldn’t imagine not washing them after touching door knobs, charts…pretty much anything someone else had touched. To this day, it’s a habit to wash my hands first thing after coming home from anywhere.
Why? Well, hand washing is your first line of defense for your friends and family.
I was taught to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, rubbing vigorously with soap, making sure to scrub palm to palm and then through the fingers. If you have access to warm water even better, but cold water will do just fine.
Educate The Littles
If you live with kiddos, you know just how dirty they can get. They have their hands in all sorts of places and, in my experience, they aren’t the best at hand washing. This is important because despite all YOUR best efforts, if your kids don’t practice good hygiene, your whole house can be affected.
Teach your kids early on to always cough or sneeze into a tissue. Also, show them how to properly wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes, mouth, and nose with unclean hands.
Power Up Your Gut
Your gut bacteria regulate immune activity and produce fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins and other compounds that help protect the intestinal tract . As more and more studies show the powerful relationship between your gut and your immune system, powering up your gut health is a great way to boost your immune system.
Luckily, we can enhance the composition of our gut bacteria with the foods we eat and targeted supplements, like probiotics. Probiotics have been shown to modulate gut bacteria, and some research shows that supplementation supports gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract health.‡
I recommend a daily serving of prebiotics and fermented foods to support gut health. Also, you can consider probiotic supplements, as outlined in PureGI™, Pure Encapsulations exclusive protocol that includes products supported by the latest in prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic microbiome science to support GI integrity, microbial balance, optimal digestion, and abdominal comfort. If you need a little extra support in any of these areas, this comprehensive supplement protocol is the way to go!‡
Focus on Self-Care
It’s so important for your immune system and the healthy functioning of your body to stay well hydrated. Sip on warm brothy soups and warming drinks like this Ginger Turmeric Tea.
Don’t Forget To Eat
Even though you might have no appetite at all, consider eating something nutrient-rich instead of the usual comfort food. Your immune system needs nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to give your body an added boost of nutrition. Chicken soup is great, as are spicy foods and those that contain garlic and ginger. If you really don’t feel like eating much of anything, most fruits are good sources of vitamin C and can help keep you hydrated.
Supplements to Help Support Your Immune System‡
If healthy food just isn’t in the cards, the best thing you can do is add some targeted immune-supportive supplements.
Vitamin C is usually the first thing people turn to when they need extra immune support, but does it really help?
Well, some studies have shown that taking Vitamin C supplements can support immune defense. I love Pure Encapsulations’ Liposomal Vitamin C liquid. It offers Vitamin C in an enhanced-absorption liposomal form to target immune and cellular health.‡
I love to use elderberry syrup as a more natural way of boosting my immunity. Elderberry supplements come in various forms, you can get them as syrups, gummies, lozenges, pills, and teas. Elderberry provides flavonoids that offer support for immune and respiratory function.‡
I also love using mushrooms to boost my immune system. Coriolus is derived from a mushroom known as the Turkey Tail. This particular mushroom has long been used in countries like Japan and China. It contains molecules that boost immune response while at the same time promoting cytokine balance. This further supports the promotion of white blood cell function and activity.‡
NAC (n-acetyl-l-cysteine) promotes endogenous glutathione production for antioxidant protection and provides lung defense mechanisms for healthy respiratory function. In a randomized double-blind trial involving mostly older individuals, NAC showed support for respiratory health.‡
Pure Encapsulations’ PureDefense with NAC is my go-to this time of year. It contains all of the immune-supporting ingredients discussed above, including NAC, Zinc, Elderberry, Vitamin C and Vitamin -D. These ingredients work together to support overall immune defense and provide enhanced support for upper respiratory health.‡
Why I Recommend Pure Encapsulations®
Pure Encapsulations® is a professional line of supplements that are certified gluten-free and free from wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, trans fats and hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners, and GMOs, making them a great choice for people with food allergies and sensitivities (and anyone looking for high quality vitamins).
Pure Encapsulations® is also super transparent about their quality standards and manufacturing process, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body. They also dismantle, sterilize, and inspect all equipment before each production run, so they can ensure that cross-contamination is never an issue for customers with food allergies and sensitivities.
I always recommend you speak with a Registered Dietitian or healthcare professional before starting a supplement regimen so you can accurately identify what nutrients may be missing from your diet and to determine the best supplement plan for your unique needs. I’m happy to help! Just get in touch here.
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.