Winter can be an enchanting season, filled with cozy sweaters, hearty food, and brisk outdoor fun. Unfortunately, less sunlight and other environmental factors can sap our body’s vital defense system.
Much like a muscle, the immune system can be strengthened. It requires just a little bit of care and consistency. As the height of cold and flu season approaches, it’s time to get back to the basics with this simple advice for better immune function.
- Follow the sun. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight, and is essential to immune function. In older people, lack of this vitamin has been linked to higher risk of catching flu. Daylight is shorter during winter, so take advantage of peak sun in the morning or afternoon for optimal exposure.
- Wetter is better. Mucus membranes in your nose, mouth, and throat are the first line of defense against infectious agents, and it’s crucial they stay moist to work at their best. But arid air and chilly winds can dry us out. Besides water, you can stay hydrated with hot tea, broth and soups, and moisture-rich veggies like cucumber and celery. Steamy showers and baths can be especially comforting in winter, and add moisture to your airways as well.
- Hit the sack. Your body requires sleep to remain healthy, and lack of it can inhibit immune function. Studies show that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are three times more likely to get sick with a cold. If the shorter, darker days disrupt your sleep schedule, reconsider your nighttime routine. Try to avoid bright screens, like from TVs, smartphones, and computers in the hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from these devices can be stimulating and delay your body’s natural release of melatonin, which helps you sleep.
Be sure to visit Oscillo.com for wellness tips to keep you healthy all winter long.