9 Tips For Staying Healthy All Winter Long

This article was written by Lisa Turner and originally published in Amazing Wellness magazine.

When colder weather strikes, it’s time to show your immune system some love. Unless, of course, you want to cough, sniffle, and sneeze your way through the winter. These tips will help give your immune system the upper hand.

1. Go Plant-Based

Looking for an excuse to eat more produce? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber—all of which support immune health.

2. Slim Down

Some studies suggest that excess body fat triggers inflammation and upsets the immune system. Not to mention, obesity increases the risk of complications and death from influenza.

3. Sober Up

Alcohol disrupts the immune system and impairs the body’s ability to prevent infection. Drink in moderation, and when you do, stick to red wine; it’s high in the antioxidant resveratrol.

4. Load Up On Tea

If you’re going to sip on something warm, make it tea. Tea is rich in the amino acid l-theanine, which increases the levels of virus-fighting compounds in the body.

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Plus, green tea, in particular, also contains epigallocatechin (EGCG), a powerful polyphenol antioxidant.

5. Grab Your Mat

Yoga enhances immunity by lowering stress, reducing inflammation, and upping the body’s levels of chemicals that regulate immune response.

6. Spice Up Your Meals

Go ahead, put a little oomph in that chili; spices and seasonings pack loads of health perks. Garlic, for example, is rich in sulfuric compounds that increase immune system activity. Ginger, meanwhile, may help the body ward off microbes. And, capsaicin—the spicy component in cayenne pepper—also helps ward off immune invaders.

7. Kick Sugar

Sugar wreaks havoc on our health in a number of ways, and hampers our immune response by decreasing the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria.

Related: 9 Surprising Signs You Need To Cut Down On Sugar

If you crave sweets, stick to whole fruits or add unfiltered or Manuka honey (which contains antioxidants) to your tea or oatmeal.

8. Get Your Zzzs

Peaceful slumber is critical for a strong immune system, and chronic sleep deprivation can increase your susceptibility to pathogens.

9. Chill Out

Chronic stress dysregulates our immune responses by altering cytokines (immune cells), increasing inflammation, and suppressing immunoprotective cells. Over time, ongoing stress can also contribute to cancer and other diseases.

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