How to Stay Strong and Healthy During Flu Season

Posted by Smarter Nutrition on

Top 10 Immune Boost Tips from Nutritionists 

With the summer at an end and cooler weather ahead, it’s time to start thinking about ways to support your immune system. While the fall is a beautiful time of year, it also brings the risk of more germs. Fall also means the start of the new school year, where children are exposed to many different germs on a daily basis. If your child gets sick, they bring the germs home.  This can get you and the rest of your family sick pretty quickly if your immune systems are weak.

Flu season is also right around the corner! With all the different flu strains this year, it is very important to boost your immune system now. Take advantage of these ten immune system boosting tips from nutritionists to help you stay strong and healthy during the flu season.

10 Immune System Boosters

#1 Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins to supplement with during the cold and flu season. Vitamin D is so effective, that it has been thought to have specific health benefits in fighting against the flu.

It’s important to make sure you stay on top of supplementation since we don’t get enough sun in the cooler months.  This can quickly lead to a vitamin D deficiency, which increases our risk for getting sick.

The old recommendation of 600 IU of vitamin D every day is not enough. A growing body of science has found that 5,000 IU of vitamin D each day is the necessary amount.

#2 Vitamin C

This powerful vitamin is still one of the most popular and effective ways to fight off a cold or flu. Vitamin C can help bolster the immune system when you are feeling run down.

You can also help prevent illness by enjoying vitamin C-rich foods in your diet during the flu season.  It's simple to do... just add things like citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomato, kale, and broccoli to your diet. 

#3 Mushrooms

Mushrooms are excellent for your immune health.  They can easily be added to your diet by using them in stir-fry’s or even putting them in homemade veggie burgers.

#4 Roasted Garlic

Consuming garlic is an extremely effective way of boosting your immune system. It’s also great when you feel a cold or flu coming on.

Try roasting a head of garlic and enjoying it with your pasta dishes or tossed in a salad. You can also make a hearty chicken noodle soup with roasted garlic for added immune support.

#5 Improve Your Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of getting sick. During flu season, it’s even more important to make sure that you are getting to bed early enough.

You need to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. If you need to adjust your sleeping routine, you should do it now to help prevent the flu this season.  

#6 Reduce Your Stress

Chronic stress can strain your immune system.  This is why you may get sick more frequently when you are stressed out. You can only exert your body and mind so much before it succumbs to whatever germ you come into contact with.

Try to reduce stress in your daily life, as much as possible. Make time to do things that you enjoy, try to include 10 minutes of relaxation each day, and learn how to say “no” more often to reduce the chance of being overwhelmed by commitments.

#7 Hand Washing

While it may sound simple, hand washing is still the best way to prevent getting sick. It is also the best way to prevent the spread of infection. 

Therefore, be sure to wash your hands often! If your hands tend to get dry in the colder months, bring a small bottle of moisturizer, so you can moisturize after each hand washing.

#8 Exercise…But Not Too Much

Moving your body and staying active can help you stay healthy. It can get the blood and oxygen flowing in your body to keep your immune system strong.

However, it’s important not to overdo it.  If you do too much strenuous exercise, it can be very hard on your immune system. Find your balance, listen to your body, and do what feels best.

#9 Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated can help loosen any built-up mucous in the body and flush out the toxins. You should maintain your water intake, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

It’s easier to stay hydrated in the hotter months, but still very important in the colder weather. If it is difficult for you to drink water regularly all day, try making some herbal tea.

#10 Support Gut Health

The stronger your gut, the stronger your immune system is. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria. When there is an imbalance in the gut bacteria, it’s easier to get sick.

You can help support digestive and immune health by supplementing with a high-quality probiotic and eating more dark leafy greens, unsweetened full-fat coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, and even flax seeds. 

Take these necessary steps now, to safeguard your health during the flu season. The stronger your immune system is before the germs start coming home with the kids or before coworkers start spreading them around the office, the better off you will be! Make this the year you don’t get sick. Save all those sick days, for doing something other than lying in bed with the flu.  

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