4 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Immune System This Fall
Now that fall has rolled around, it’s time to start planning for the winter. For some, that might mean putting away summer furniture, getting out last year’s warm and cozy clothing, and saying hello to crisper days and longer nights. While there is much to look forward to for the fall and winter seasons, there is one thing that none of us are looking forward to: flu season. But it can be hard to avoid falling ill when the colder months arrive.
The good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself from the flu or another seasonal illness. The most important thing you can do is boosting your immune system to prepare for the impending cold-weather months. Let’s talk about some ways to naturally boost your immune system this fall.
Why is boosting your immune system important in the fall?
As mentioned above, fall is a part of the year where you should be particularly focused on your immune health. As people begin gearing up to stay indoors more often, and with flu season just around the corner, you’ll want to prepare your body for the fight against winter illness. You don’t want to wait until you’re already sick to pay attention to your immune health. If you do it now, your body’s defense system will be ready and raring to go if any pesky viruses happen to invade.
Fall foods that boost immune system function
Eating seasonally is great all year round for many reasons. The closer you eat to when the food was harvested, the more nutrient-dense the food will be, and that means your body will get more of what it needs to properly function. Fall foods, especially, can help you prepare your body for flu season because a lot of them are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help keep your immune health in tip top shape.
Some of the best fall foods you can eat to help boost your immune system include:
- Apples: Apples have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and strengthen the immune system because of their nutrient content.
- Pomegranate: Pomegranates are high in both vitamin C and E, and also have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- Pears: Pears contain powerful flavonoid antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation that can lead to disease.
- Dates: Dates are high in vitamin C – a vital nutrient when it comes to immune health.
- Kale: Kale contains vitamin C, folate and high levels of antioxidants. These nutrients are known to help boost the immune system and ward off disease.
- Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts contain vitamins C and K as well as potassium and folate, all of which are vital to a properly functioning immune system.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower is naturally high in B-vitamins as well antioxidants that can help boost the immune system.
- Sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin: These orange vegetables all contain high levels of beta-carotene, a substance that the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A has been shown to strengthen the immune system.
How can I boost my immune system in the fall?
There are many things you can do this fall to help get your immune system ready for anything the changing seasons throw at it.
Get proper sleep
Sleep and the immune system go hand in hand. Getting an adequate amount of sleep, as well as a good quality of sleep, is vital to immune system functionality. Studies have shown that people who sleep for less than six hours a night are more likely to catch colds than those who sleep longer. Sleep has also been shown to strengthen the body’s natural immunity,, which can help you fight off illness better if you do catch a cold.
Get more exercise
Fall weather is almost perfect for outdoor exercise because it’s just the right temperature. The secret to exercise and immune health is getting just the right amount. Prolonged, intense exercise can have a negative impact on the immune system because it can stress the body out; however, moderate exercise has been shown to have the opposite effect.
You don’t have to get out there and sprint for an hour to feel the benefits of exercise for your immune system. Activities like brisk walking, swimming, light hiking, or steady bicycling are all great options. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week and you’ll be better equipped to fight off any illness that comes your way.
Keep stress to a minimum
Stress and anxiety can cause damage to the immune system because of the way they promote inflammation and affect immune cell function. To curb the negative effects of stress (and help your immune system in the process), try practicing meditation or yoga, journaling, or even seeing a licensed therapist. Do whatever you need to do to keep your stress levels down and your immune system strong.
Use the right supplements
Supplements can be good for some people when it comes to immune health. This is especially true during the darker fall and winter months. When you get less vitamin D, specifically, your immune system will suffer. Since the sun is the greatest source of this nutrient, you may consider taking a vitamin D supplement while you’re spending more time indoors and out of the sunshine. Other supplements that have been shown to help immune health include zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea.
Fall is a beautiful season, and many people can’t wait until it rolls around every year. One thing to remember as the leaves change colors and the temperature drops is that your immune health is crucial to overall health, and taking care of it now will give you a better chance of avoiding illness all winter long.