With COVID and flu season in full swing, one of the topics on everyone’s mind is how to stay healthy through the winter months. There are the obvious things you can do like washing your hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching your face to minimize risk of getting sick. But there are some other simple ways to keep your immune system strong so that you stay healthy during flu season. Here are Red Leaf’s top tips for how to boost your immune system.
Add more fruits and veggies to your diet.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that this is up there on our list of ways to boost your immune system during flu season. Fruits and veggies are packed with important nutrients and antioxidants that help your body fight off illness and infection. Take citrus fruit for example. Most citrus fruit contains large amounts of Vitamin C, which is responsible for helping your body create more white blood cells, which act as a line of defense against infection. For a list of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals that you can add to your diet, check out this great article from our friends at HealthLine.
Other important vitamins and minerals that boost immune system health are Vitamin E (abundant in almonds) & D, B-Vitamins (hello, chicken soup), and Zinc to name a few. Moral of the story? Eat your fruits and veggies!
I know, it’s easier said than done; but cortisol, aka the stress hormone, wreaks havoc on our immune systems. Particularly in the case of chronic and prolonged stress (2020, anyone?), it can make us more susceptible to illness. So how does one reduce stress in 2020? For starters, I think it’s important to give yourself grace that there is a certain amount of underlying stress this year that you may not be able to avoid. Giving yourself permission to be stressed removes the guilt and shame that many people feel whenever they are overwhelmed or feel out of control. The fact is, people, there is a lot that’s out of your and my control this year. And that’s okay. What isn’t helpful is focusing on those things. So rather than focus on external factors that aren’t in your control, focus on those things which are in control.
- Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media apps and reading the news. Screen time is hard on your eyes and overstimulates your brain, but it also can be emotionally draining to spend hours each day scrolling Instagram and reading the news (aka looking at/reading about LOTS of things that are completely out of your control). One way to reduce your screen time is to set time limits on your apps. If the app locks you out after 30 minutes of usage, you can’t open it again until the following day. If your work requires you to be plugged in to your phone, schedule time to take a short walk and leave your phone at home a couple of times throughout the day.
- Spend at least 30 minutes in the morning reading, journaling, meditating, or doing a study. This remains one of my go-to options for reducing stress in my life. I always wake up about an hour before I need to so I have time to take the dog out, have a cup of coffee, and do my devotions and prayers prior to starting my day. If you don’t have an hour, try 30 minutes. If you don’t have 30 minutes, try meditating for 10 – 15 minutes first thing after waking. There is nothing more stressful than rushing to get going with your day. Even if you’re still working from home, having a routine that reduces stress in the morning will help you have a more productive, less stressful day.
- Block out the haters. If you aren’t ready to ditch your social media for good, but find yourself irritated and easily stressed looking at posts from certain accounts, you don’t have to unfollow or unfriend them! (Because let’s be honest, that’s stressful in and of itself!) Try muting the accounts that cause you stress instead. This way, they won’t pop up on your feed and you won’t get notifications about their posts but you don’t have to have that awkward conversation when they realize you unfollowed them.
Exercise Daily (outdoors if possible).
It’s common knowledge that one of the best ways to boost your immune system is through exercise. Exercise helps increase blood flow to your muscles and organs, helps decrease inflammation in your body, and keeps your immune cells strong and able to fight off disease and infection. There are so many different types of exercise so you can find what works best for you- whether it’s yoga, pilates, kick boxing, HIIT, weight lifting, functional fitness, running, climbing, whatever- the key is moving your body every single day in some capacity. If you’re able, try to exercise outdoors at least a few times a week. Even if it’s low intensity exercise like walking, that outdoor time (thirty minutes to an hour) is not only a great opportunity to get some much needed Vitamin D, but it also helps reduce stress.
Take (the right) Supplements.*
Here’s the deal, guys. As a supplement company, we believe in the products we make and their ability to help you stay healthy. But at the end of the day, no supplement is a cure for illness nor is a supplement able to prevent illness 100% of the time. What supplements, let me rephrase…the right supplements, CAN do is give you the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs that you may not be getting from your diet. For example, I have a dairy allergy and I don’t looooove red meat so my calcium and iron numbers are pretty low. I also exercise at a high intensity, so being deficient in these nutrients can lead to injury if I’m not supplementing my diet well. When it comes to your immune health, if you live in a super cold place that doesn’t see a lot of sunshine, chances are you should probably be taking a Vitamin D supplement. If you don’t eat meat, chances are you should be taking a supplement with higher levels of B-vitamins. How well you absorb those vitamins and minerals depends on the other ingredients you ingest, the quality of the supplement, etc. So do your research and ALWAYS consult your physician prior to beginning a new supplementation regimen.
Now, we’d be remiss not to mention that we have a brand new product that is soon-to-be-released that will support your immune health.** We are dropping Red Leaf Immunity just in time for flu season! Packed with amino acids, antioxidants, and B-vitamins, Red Leaf Immunity is a refreshing, healthy energy drink that you can enjoy in our signature Cranberry Lime flavor. Sign up here to be one of the first to try Red Leaf Immunity and earn a special 15% discount!
Staying healthy isn’t rocket science, y’all. It’s intentional, it’s not always easy, but we can all make small changes in our lives to help us stay healthy. If you have any great ideas for staying healthy and boosting your immune system, drop your comments below! Stay safe and stay healthy, friends.
*Supplements are not intended to cure or treat illnesses. Always consult a physician prior to using a new supplement.
** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.