The winter months tend to be when a variety of “bugs” hit us (influenza, colds, the “stomach flu”, etc) which is – to say the least – NOT a lot of fun! Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help support your immune system and keep you healthy and happy all winter long!
Vitamins – Making sure that we’re eating healthy is a great way to support our immune health and, we get LOTS of great vitamins and minerals from our diet (especially if we’re eating clean and avoiding processed and refined items). Adding in a daily supplement that contains antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and selenium (a mineral) can help protect healthy cells and fight off free radicals. When we’re fighting off an infection, our stores of Vitamin C can become depleted (the need for Vitamin C increases when the body is stressed), making supplementation a very good idea. Most supplements contain zinc, too, which is another immune boosting mineral and is something our bodies need to stay healthy.
Vitamin D is also vitally important to our immune health and, because it’s something our bodies naturally get from exposure to sunlight, the sometimes sunless winter months can be the time where we’re lacking with this vitamin. So, taking a Vitamin D supplement can help make up for that deficiency.
Exercise – Believe it or not, exercise not only boosts our heart rate, but also to our immunity. However, when it gets frigid outside, we want to snuggle up with hot cocoa by the fire…anything but exercise, right??? But, resisting the urge to not exercise will pay off in the end – making sure that you’re getting in at least 45 minutes of moderate exercise 3 days per week can help you avoid holiday weight gain and keep our bodies in top working condition.
Sleep – Getting enough sleep (but not too much) is vital to a healthy immune system. Research has consistently shown that those who are well rested are much more likely to have a stronger immune response to viruses, which means that your body can fight off illnesses more effectively. So, even if you’re eating right and exercising, skimping on the sleep is NOT something that does a body good – in fact, it can increase your risk of diabetes, affects hormone levels, and accelerates aging.
SAD – Don’t let Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) get you down! SAD tends to pop up in the winter when people are stuck indoors and/or have minimal exposure to sunlight. Not getting enough sunlight can cause you to have problems with sleep, depress your immune function and response, disrupt melatonin regulation, and many other things. Plus, positive emotions have the ability to help decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells; negative emotions, on the other hand, release a stress hormone which can actually suppress immunity.
Obviously, staying healthy and keeping your immune system in tip-top shape takes work. Fortunately, the providers here at Fletcher Chiropractic can help! Studies have shown that individuals who have regular chiropractic adjustments have immune systems that are greater than 150% stronger than those who don’t…plus, we’re able to provide nutritional and emotional support, as well, making our office “the place to be”…regardless of what season it is!!!