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How to Boost Your Immune System During the Winter

Cold and flu season is in full swing for most of us, especially if we live in cold climates. If you have kids, work at a school, or spend a lot of time traveling, you are probably at a higher risk of catching a cold or the flu. In addition, if you have a hard time sleeping enough and/or are under a lot of stress, your immune system is probably compromised. 

Here are some ways that you can help boost your and your family’s immune system during this time of year.

Get Outdoors

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Image by Dino Reichmuth

A 2019 study showed that spending 120 minutes a week outdoors can improve your health. That’s just two hours per week total. Make a point to get outside each day, even if it’s for a short amount of time. This can include everything from walking the dog to eating lunch outside, or even taking an evening walk around the neighborhood with your family. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is important to help us keep our immune systems strong. Fruit is rich in vitamin C and is a great way to get this important vitamin in. Or, if you are craving something warm, you can mix Emergen-C with hot water for a nice, immunity-boosting treat. This is also a great drink to bring with you if you are heading outdoors to hike, run, climb, or ski. Lemon and honey in hot water or tea is another great way to get in your vitamin C in a soothing, comforting way. 

In addition, echinacea and black currant are also powerful antioxidants and immunity boosters. Both can be purchased in pill form and taken throughout the winter, or even the year. 

Please check with your medical provider before adding supplements to your diet.

Bone Broth 

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Image by Bluebird Provisions

Whether you’re headed out for a winter hike or cozying up by the fireplace with your book, a warm cup of bone broth is a great choice for this time of year. It not only helps boost immunity, but it also supports healthy sleep, helps ease joint pain and stiffness, supports a healthy digestion, and boosts your body’s collagen. 

Sleep

Sleep is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy. When we sleep, our muscles repair and our brains reset—there really isn’t a better way to feel regenerated. While exercise is also an important part of staying healthy, if you are sacrificing your sleep to get to the gym every morning, consider choosing a day or two to sleep a little longer and skip the workout, if need be. Your body will thank you in the long run. 

It can be hard to motivate yourself to get outdoors when it’s cold, but it’s important to keep getting out there to keep us healthy and well. Remember that you don’t have to spend hours outdoors to reap the benefits, so if you hate the cold, you can start small and move up from there. Nature is beautiful in the winter, especially wrapped in a fresh blanket of snow, so soon, you may find yourself looking forward to those outdoor breaks. Keep on top of the immunity-boosting hot liquids as well, and make sure you pack them when you head out into the cold. 

Here’s to a healthy, outdoors-filled 2024 for you and your family. 

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