Fall has arrived and winter is fast approaching, which means our bodies now have to deal with dropping temperatures and increasingly less sunlight while we try to form habits that can help boost the immune system. This change in the season can wreak havoc on our immune systems, making us prone to illnesses such as the common cold or the flu. If you're wondering how to say as healthy as possible this winter season, there are some quick tips and tricks to leave your body feeling its best.
Although preventing illness altogether isn't entirely possible, you can definitely prepare your body to be armed and ready to fight off any pesky viruses that come your way. Staying as healthy as possible will keep your immune system up, so even if you accidentally shake hands with someone who is coughing up a storm, you won't have to panic that you'll have bronchitis tomorrow.
"Many times emotional and physical stress is not managed properly, especially in the winter and holiday season," says Dr. Robert Pohamac of MaxHealth LA over email. "Because of all the, stress the body breaks down too fast and the response is the cold/flu symptoms."
To keep your body as strong as possible, try adopting these five everyday habits that will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
1. Drink Water
You've probably heard to consume lots of liquids when you're sick, and this is because drinking water helps flush toxins out of your body, says Pohamac. It's also important to stay hydrated, as dehydration can cause fatigue, pain, and even sickness.
2. Exercise Regularly
"Working out releases endorphins which boost your body's immunity system," says Pohamac. Studies have found that people who exercise report fewer colds than people who are inactive. Even just walking daily can help decrease your chances of catching a cold.
3. Increase Alkaline Intake
"Viruses live in the body and thrive in an acidic state," says Pohamac. "By eating vegetables you can increase your alkaline level and improve immunity and you'll be less likely to get sick." Good alkaline-promoting foods include leafy greens, avocado, peppers, zucchini, and cucumber.
4. Sleep At Least Seven Hours
"The body needs a regular sleep pattern," says Pohamac. "The whole body, including your brain, has a relaxation cycle and allows your body to recharge during sleep." Studies have found that the number of our bodies' T cells, the cells responsible for fighting off foreign invaders, goes down when we are sleep deprived, increasing our chances of contracting a cold or flu, according to Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in an article for WebMD.
5. Have A Good Laugh
There's a reason they say laughter is the best medicine! Laughter has the same effect on the body as exercising, reducing stress and raising the level of infection-fighting antibodies in your body.
Who says you have to get that seasonal cold, anyway?