November typically brings the start of flu season, and if you have kids like me, it can even start as early as September when they go back to school. What I hate about getting sick most? Having to miss a workout, or not being able to give it my all when every exercise feels twice as hard as it normally should.
The first thing we can all do to boost our immunity is to eat a diet loaded with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Foods such as carrots, squash, tomatoes, kiwi, spinach, kale, berries and broccoli all contain high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants, which play an important role in our immune system. Your grocery cart should resemble the rainbow with a variety of produce in a variety of color. When we focus on filling ourselves with a diet of whole foods, we crowd out the processed refined foods naturally and will immediately feel the benefits.
What else can you do?
Check out these 6 simple tips to keep illness at bay, and allow you to get the most out of your workouts- all year long!
- Drink Water. Staying hydrated will help you stay healthy, allow your organs to function properly and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu.
- Eat garlic. This potent onion relative contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. Add it to your stir frys, salad dressings and soups.
- Take a supplement. Depending on your diet, you may benefit from a multi vitamin, fish oil or vitamin D in the winter. This will fill in any nutritional gaps so your body’s systems can function optimally and you can avoid any deficiencies that may leave you more susceptible to infection.
- Get outside for fresh air. Taking time for a 15-20 minute walk everyday (on top of your workouts) will help keep stress at bay. Stress acts on our body through our immune system, and can show itself in the form of chronic inflammation.
- Make Sleep A Priority. Getting a full night’s sleep will help keep your body’s natural defenses at optimum efficiency. Go to bed earlier, ditch the alcohol, do what ever you need to do to ensure 8 hrs of sleep a night.
- And above all, make exercise non negotiable. Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise enhances immune function and promotes healthy sleep.
Just remember, your body’s immune system is more powerful than you probably imagine and maintaining a strong immune system is not as hard as it can seem. Start with simple swaps in your diet to increase your fruits and vegetables and replace sugary drinks with water. Make yourself a priority because you are worth it and aim to get adequate sleep, fresh air, reduce stress and find an activity that keeps you active that you enjoy.