Help support your immune system this winter with a healthy diet. You already know the basics: eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid excessive alcohol intake and follow a low-fat, low-sugar diet. And to give your immune system some extra support, here are a few more tips to follow:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
A good night’s sleep can help your body’s natural defense systems. Research shows that we need seven to eight hours of sleep to stimulate our natural immune response. Even if you’re busy, travelling or otherwise on the go, double down on your sleep when you can to help your body do its best work.
WEISE TIP: Turn off all electronics 1 hour prior to bedtime. Read, meditate, or simply enjoy the quiet to unwind your body for sleep. Going to bed at the same time each night creates a habit your body will follow naturally.
2. Sip tea
Being well-hydrated keeps mucous membranes moist so they can perform better. In addition to drinking water, sipping hot black or green tea with lemon and honey has multiple benefits. Breathing in the steam from the not tea stimulates the cilia—the hair follicles in the nose— which support important immune system functions.
WEISE TIP: Herbal teas are my favorite choice for the evening when I don’t want caffeine to keep me awake all night. Choose from any naturally non-caffeinated herbal teas like chamomile, mint, lemon zinger, wild berry, etc.
3. Get a protein fix
Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. So make sure to get protein-rich foods throughout the day, especially fish, eggs, and yogurt.
WEISE TIP: Start your day with a protein shake. It wakes up your metabolism and gets your body energized for the day. My fav: Non-GMO, plant-based Shaklee Protein Powders in Soy or Whey.
4. Wash your hands often
Our hands come in contact with germs on everything we touch. Indoors and out, in public and in our homes, we touch countless surfaces, shake hands, push elevator buttons, use hand rails and grab door handles. Washing hands often with warm soapy water can cut down on germs. Avoid hand sanitizers, as they are very drying and have been proven to not be as effective as simple hand washing.
WEISE TIP: To be sure you’re washing your hands long enough, sing the happy birthday song in your head while lathering up!
5. Keep your hands from touching your face
Studies have shown that people touch their face around 3 to 4 times every hour – far more than washing their hands. The risk is that each time you touch your mouth or nose you may be transferring bacteria and viruses from contaminated surfaces to your body.
WEISE TIP: Try to be aware of your hands at all times. Touching your face regularly also leads to acne and other skin conditions. Phones are just as bad – see my next tip. (yuck!) It may take a few weeks to break the habit, but you’ll be glad you did!
6. Wipe down your cell phone
Most of us keep our phones with us at all times. We set it down on various surfaces, hand it to friends to show photos, and touch it ourselves again and again. Wiping your phone with alcohol or a non-toxic disinfecting wipe (My fav: Shaklee Germ Off Disinfecting Wipes) regularly cuts down on germs that could get near your face and mouth the next time you take a call.
WEISE TIP: Keeping hands washed – see my last tip – will also cut down on the germs that are on your phone.
7. Get moderate exercise
Moderate exercise is not only good for keeping your body fit, it appears to boost immunity. If you don’t currently exercise, start slowly and build up to a regular routine. Then keep it up throughout the year.
WEISE TIP: In the winter months, it’s hard to get moving. I like workout videos. They can be borrowed from your local library or watched on YouTube. My fav: Walk Away The Pounds by Leslie Sansone.