4 immune-boosting tips to weather this cold season

Reviewed by Theresa H. Care Delivery Manager & Family Nurse Practitioner

Time saver 3 min read

With cold and flu season on the horizon, you want to do everything you can to ward off illness and stay healthy. And your immune system plays the leading role in the saga against germs and viruses. But how can you make sure you’re giving your body what it needs to triumph? Keep reading to learn more about how your immune system works and ways to keep it – and you – healthy.

Your body’s bodyguard

Your body – and all its complex systems – is incredibly intelligent. And your immune system is especially clever as it’s tasked with outsmarting all the germs, viruses and bacteria that try to make their way into your body through your nose, mouth or an open cut. And even if a virus sneaks past your immune guards, those annoying symptoms you experience – low-grade fever, inflamed nasal passages and excess mucus – are all part of your body’s normal and healthy immune response. That’s right, even the tiredness you experience when you’re sick is your body’s way of getting you to slow down so it has the energy to mount a strong defense.

From your skin and gut to your tonsils and lymph nodes – your body’s immune system is an intricate and interconnected network of cells, proteins and organs. But when it comes to making sure your immune system is in tiptop shape, there is no quick fix.

Help your immune system help you

The best way to make sure your immune system is strong and healthy? Make sure you’re consistently giving your body what it needs to function properly.

Following these tips can help ensure you’re giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to mount a strong immune response.

4 ways to support your immune system

  1. Get your 40 winks – The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. While you sleep your brain and body are busy recharging, cleaning out toxins and repairing damaged cells – all of which are essential for immune health.
  2. Move your body – It’s recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. And whether you prefer to dance, walk or bike (or all three!) – daily movement helps prime and activate your immune system.
  3. Eat & drink for fuel – A well-balanced diet includes lots of nutrient-dense foods. Consume a colorful rainbow of vegetables and fruits and include foods like salmon and walnuts that are high in protein and omega-3 fats. Also, make sure you’re drinking at least 64 oz. of water daily.
  4. Get vaccinated – Vaccines are a safe and effective way to give your immune system the information it needs to protect against certain germs and viruses. To reduce the risk of serious disease, make sure you stay on top of recommended immunizations.
Pro tip: Fresh produce and fruits in short supply? Frozen fruits and veggies pack a nutritional punch that’s similar to their fresh counterparts.

When sickness strikes

Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, you end up getting sick. And when common symptoms like a fever, nasal congestion, sore throat and cough set in, you may need a little help to feel better. Thankfully, you can get online care for colds, coughs and sinus infections – all without leaving home.

Chicken soup, for souped-up immunity

Chicken soup is often the food of choice for colds sufferers. But why? In addition to being pretty darn tasty and easy to digest, chicken soup also contains nutrients, proteins, fluids and electrolytes – all important ingredients to fuel a healthy immune system.     

Add immune-friendly ingredients like ginger, spinach, lemon, turmeric and garlic to your favorite chicken soup recipe. Bon appetite!

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