Stay Healthy This Winter: 12 Ways to Keep Your Immune System in Check

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Healthy Winter | Central Mass Mom

The colder weather is here and with that, the thought (and dread) of winter illness. The sniffles. The fevers. The coughs. Maybe even some projectile body fluids. Reading this should prompt you to make some changes now to prevent days out of school, call outs at work, and unscheduled trips to the doctor’s office.

I’m pretty sure all of us assume at least one bug will make its way through the household this winter, but that doesn’t have to be the case. I’m going to regret writing this but we made it through and stayed healthy last winter without a single sniffle. It was amazing as years prior we were plagued by GI bugs and persistent coughs. 

Now you’re probably thinking, what can I do to keep the family healthy this winter? Here’s a list to get you started and what has worked well for our family:

1. Wash your hands frequently.

This is a no brainer. Use soap, water, and scrub for 20 seconds. 

2. Drink plenty of water.

Aim for 8-10 cups a day while limiting caffeine and alcohol.

3. Get adequate sleep.

I know it’s hard but when our bodies aren’t rested, we are more susceptible to illness and it takes a longer time to recover. 

4. Exercise.

Move your body daily, even if you have to do counter push-ups while making dinner or lunges up and down the hallway while doing laundry.

5. Take a high-quality multivitamin.

As much as we may try, we can’t get all the nutrients our bodies need through food alone. Supplementing with a high-quality vitamin will fill the gaps and help you work toward optimal health.

6. Consider supplementing with immune-boosting elderberry syrup, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and/or Zinc.

These supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of illness by strengthening the immune system, making it easier to fight off infections 

7. Add a probiotic.

A large part of our immune system is in our gut. By adding a high-quality probiotic (think billions of CFUs), you’ll bring the gut closer to homeostasis making it easier for our bodies to fend off any microscopic invaders. 

8. Keep stress to a minimum.

Persistent stress increases inflammation in the body and suppresses the immune system which, you may have guessed, puts us at a greater risk of getting sick.

9. Cut back on sugars.

Reducing or eliminating added sugars is one of the best changes you can make to remain healthy. Excess sugar intake leads to inflammation and reduced action of our white blood cells, making it easy for a virus to take hold and wreak havoc. 

10. Make chiropractic care part of your wellness routine. 

Regular adjustments help to keep the body aligned and augments the immune system.  My two boys and I see Dr. Brittany Falcone at Worcester Family Chiropractic every 3 weeks!

Lucas being adjusted by Dr. Brittany.

11. Eat whole, anti-inflammatory foods.

Remember that saying, “You are what you eat.” Well, if you eat like crap you’re going to feel like crap! Choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible while avoiding trans fats, processed meats, and excessive sugar.

12. Don’t skip your routine, follow-up appointments.

Despite the perceived risk of becoming ill from going to the doctor, the chances are pretty slim as medical offices are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID. As a nurse, I urge you to keep all of your appointments and physically go see your provider when able. Telemedicine is a short-term alternative but not a substitute for a physical exam.

What do you plan on doing this winter to remain healthy?

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Liz was born in the Berkshires and has settled down in Holden where she lives with her husband Rob and two sons, Jacob and Lucas. Liz is a home-schooling mom, loves to garden and enjoys to read but quiet opportunities are few and far between these days. Liz is a Homecare RN but her true passion lies in wellness education. She will be launching her business, Evolving Into You, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in the coming months. Clearly, Liz likes to stay busy as she is also a dry nail polish slinging leader with Color Street. She loves to connect with other moms and families over coffee and fruit cups.

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