As the temperature drops, so can your healthy habits. Try these simple tips to help boost your immunity and stay healthy during the coldest months of the year.
60% of the human body is water, with our brain and muscles being up to 75%. It is found in every cell, tissue, and organ in the body – that’s how important it is. Proper hydration improves brain function, helps deliver oxygen to the body, lubricates joints, and is essential for cell growth, replication, and survival. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. If you’re working out or sweating, you’ll need more. Still not sure? Go by thirst and urine color. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so start sipping. Urine darker than pale yellow means you need to hydrate (side note: some medications and B-vitamins will make your urine yellow). And remember, sip don’t chug. This will allow your body a chance to soak it up. At TB12, we recommend taking electrolytes before, during, and after exercising – and any other time that you need an extra burst of hydration throughout the day
Get your Sleep (8 hours minimum)
Lack of sleep and poor-quality sleep both negatively affect our immune system and increase the likelihood of getting sick when exposed to a virus. Even as little as one hour less nightly (that’s 7-hours) has an impact.
Make at least half your plate vegetables
Vegetables (and fruits) are loaded in vitamins and minerals that help support immunity. Vit C, B6, and Vit E play critical roles in immune health. Vegetables rich in these include: yellow bell pepper, kale, broccoli, spinach, peas, potatoes, carrots, and avocados. Quercetin, a flavonoid in onions, grapes, capers, and black and green tea has anti-viral properties, so including these in your daily intake is important as well.
Get your Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a key role in immune health. When deficient there is an increased potential for infection. There are three ways to get your Vit D.
Eat fatty fish
The benefits of eating fatty fish feel almost endless. From improved cardiovascular health, to maintaining muscle, to mental health and cognitive benefits, to managing inflammation. Try to eat fatty fish twice weekly. Sources include: salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, trout, sardines, and swordfish. If you can’t meet your needs through food, this is a supplement worth adding to your daily routine.
Skip the Added Sugar
Added sugar refers to sugar that doesn’t naturally occur in a food, so we’re not talking fruit here. We’re talking foods like candies, cookies, and cakes. But be mindful, sugar can sneak into places you don’t expect: flavored yogurt, sauces (BBQ, spaghetti, etc.), and granola. There are over 60 different names for added sugar, so looking at the ingredient list might not be that helpful. Check out the nutrition facts label and look under added sugars.
Aim for 30-60 minutes of activity daily. Whether it’s a body weight and resistance band workout, dancing around to your favorite songs, chasing the kids, or gardening outside. Find what works for you and do it.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress creates cortisol which can suppress your immune system and trigger inflammation. Take time in your day to focus on your mental health. Try going for a walk, talking with a friend, meditation, writing gratitudes, or simply doing something for you.
Skip the alcohol
Alcohol is super proinflammatory and is arguably one of the worst things we can consume. If you can stop cold, go for it. If not, start tracking how much you have weekly, and aim for less.
Wash your hands
Not just the palms. Be thorough. Get the backs of your hands, your fingers and fingertips, and your thumbs. Lather up. The whole process should take 20 sec. This is one thing where moderation doesn’t apply. Wash your hands often, especially when first getting home.