When winter rolls around every year, a part of me wishes I could lock myself and my family in our house and hibernate until cold and flu season is over. But let’s be honest, we would go crazy in just one day!
While avoiding the world for 3 months may not be a realistic solution, there are some actual ways that can help you survive and boost your immune system!
And you know what’s even better? Several of these steps include delicious smoothies that are part of my free smoothie eBook! You heard me right, you can give your body the fighting powers it needs during this time of the year with smoothies!
I’ve put together a list of 5 steps that can help to boost your body’s immune system and fight back against those winter germs and viruses. The best part is these are all things you can start doing today!
The Healthier, the Better
A healthy diet is more than just eating leafy greens. There are three main food categories you should incorporate into your diet everyday, especially to build up your immune system and keep your body strong and balanced!
No surprise here, but it’s true that we need to eat vegetables every day! I for one have to constantly remind my kids to eat them, and now I’m reminding all of you too! 🙂
We hear all the time that vegetables are important, but do we know why? Especially why they help our immune system? Well here’s why!
Vegetables are low in calories and fat, contain no cholesterol, and are rich in nutrients such as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. The US government recommends eating 3-5 servings of vegetables a day, which is about one cup of raw leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup of any others. It’s that simple!
Adding more veggies into your daily diet will lower your risk for heart disease and stroke will lower your blood pressure, and will help you lose weight!
Not to mention, getting the recommended amounts of veggies will strengthen your immune system. These are all great reasons to add more vegetables to your plate, don’t you think?
Fruits are another important type of food to add into your daily diet, but you need to make sure you are eating the recommended amount!
On average, an adult should have about two cups of fruit a day. A cup is the size of a small apple or about 8 strawberries.
So why is it important to eat fruits? They are naturally low in fat, calories, sodium, and contain no cholesterol. If that isn’t enough to convince you, they are also rich with nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. These are all great nutrients to help boost your immune system.
Adding the recommended amounts of fruit to your diet will lower your risk for heart disease stroke, and diabetes. Also, eating fruits will help your body fight against germs. There’s a lot of power packed into those juicy little fruits!
Do you know the difference between whole grains and refined grains?
Whole grains are literally that, the whole grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. Sounds way more complicated than it actually is! Think of oats, for instance, or a grain of brown rice. These are the whole kernel of that type of grain.
Refined grains are whole grains that have been milled, a process which removes the bran and the germ. This process also removes the fiber, iron, and B vitamins as well, which is why whole grains is recommended over refined. Examples of refined grains are white bread, white rice, and white flour.
The recommended amount of whole grains per day is six servings. A serving can be a slice of whole grain bread, a cup of whole grain Cheerios, or 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice. It’s that easy to add whole grains into your daily diet routine.
Eating whole grains will lower your cholesterol, your blood pressure, and with all that extra fiber they will help you lose weight. And of course, the iron that you get by going whole grain instead of refined will help to boost your immune system. Talk about a bonus.
Exercise on the Regular
There is a reason we are told over and over again how beneficial it is to work out regularly, and it’s more than just losing weight.
New research is conducted every day in regards to the benefits that daily exercise has on the body and how it functions, it’s undeniably important!
But why is it important?
When you’re struggling one day to get the motivation to hit the gym, think about these benefits: Regular exercise helps your body handle stress, allows you to sleep better, gives you more energy, and may even help you live longer! While these are all fantastic benefits from working out, another major key is giving your body the fighting power to fight sickness!
According to a study reported through BBC, those who exercise regularly were less likely to become sick, or even if they did fall ill it never lasted as long or was as severe as someone who did not work out. Regular exercise is a great way to boost your immune system!
So how great is that? Making it a habit to exercise daily will help you lose weight, and fight against cold and flu season!
Catch Those Zzz’s
As a momma of three, sometimes good sleep is hard to come by! It’s easy to fill up your day to the brim, even all the way up past bedtime if you’re not careful. We all lead busy lives, and sleep seems to be less and less of a priority.
Here’s the problem though, we need sleep! And most of us need more sleep than we typically average each night.
A healthy adult needs about eight hours of sleep a night, but when you are sick you need even more. Sleep is so important because it’s the time your body can focus its’ energy on helping your immune system defend against and fight off infection.
If you skimp on sleep you run the risk of becoming sick, or dragging out the duration of your cold.
So moral of the story? Kick up your feet and catch those Zzz’s!
Manage Stress Like a Boss
Life is just stressful.
Busy schedules, work deadlines, events to plan or attend… it all adds up. The worst part is, stress can make you sick.
Stress weakens your immune system because it depletes your antioxidants and levels of vitamin C, which helps your body fight infections. Equally as bad, stress will also stimulate the production of the fat-storage hormone cortisol, which in turn can make you gain weight. Total bummer!
So how do you manage stress and protect yourself from succumbing to the immunity crushing side effects?
In order to protect yourself, you need to learn how to manage stress in order to boost your immune system.
The best defense against stress is rest.
Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, and resting so your body can recuperate and recharge when it needs to. If you keep pushing yourself, you will get sick! Take the time to slow down and meditate. Your body needs it.
Another alternative to help relieve stress is through exercise and staying active (like I mentioned earlier 😉 ). Doing so will help your body release stress in a healthy way, and also help build up your body’s antibodies to fight more effectively against germs and infection.
Yoga is a perfect example, and is something I personally suggest. I use the poses to strengthen my physical body and the breathing techniques to calm my mind, and that has enabled me to develop a stronger ability to fight off stress and remain focused. Try it out some of these poses today, I promise you won’t regret it!
Hold the Sugar, Please
Another bad side-effect of stress is that it can make you crave sugary and fatty foods. Try to curb those cravings and reach for healthier choices instead.
(To help keep yourself on track, and give your body the fuel it needs to manage stress, try one of these filling and healthy smoothies from my eBook!)
Sugar is a blessing and a curse. How can something taste so good and yet be so bad for you? It just doesn’t seem fair. You constantly crave it, and can’t live without it sometimes!
The bad news is that consuming too much sugar can contribute to a number of health problems including weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, and can cause a weakened immune system.
A study researched by Loma Linda University in 1973 found that, “When you eat 100 grams of sugar, about as much sugar as you find in a 1 liter bottle of soda, your white blood cells are 40 percent less effective at killing germs.” That’s right folks, sugar can make you sick!
So most of you may just think that the solution would be to just cut out sugar completely from your diet and then problem solved. However, let’s be realistic for a minute. Who in their right mind would never eat sugar again? It’s just not really possible! Plus, it’s never good to completely cut yourself off from something; every once in awhile you need to treat yourself!
You can cut back on your sugary cravings, but still treat yourself at the same time, when you make some of the delicious smoothies in my eBook. These babies taste just like a milkshake, and the funny thing is they are actually good for you since they contain less than 5 grams of sugar!
How to Boost Your Immune System
During the winter you want to do everything you can to boost your immune system and avoid getting sick. If you take the time to eat healthy, rest, avoid sugar, and manage your stress then you will have a stronger and more powerful defense system against germs and illness.
Interested in some smoothie recipes that can help you not only lose weight, but also add in healthy, germ fighting nutrients to strengthen your immune system?
- Try these smoothies to sneak in servings of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains!
- Need some extra defense to fight against a cold? Check out this cold busting smoothie!
- Want to satisfy that sweet tooth without all the sugar? Make this delicious smoothie that tastes just like a Cinnabon.. seriously!
For more smoothie recipes and healthy info, click here for my free smoothie eBook! Or click the banner below!