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Don't get sick this winter! 6 tips to keep a healthy immune system!

With the current public health crisis going on, many people are concerned about staying healthy and maintaining a healthy immune system. Doing so can benefit your body and boost your defenses against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

While it is important to stay cautious and aware during this time, keeping your body healthy and in shape is just as crucial.

#1- Get your micronutrients in Eating lots of fruits & vegetables is so important to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to fight off any bad germs! Antioxidants are compounds in colourful fruits and vegetables that protect against free radicals which can damage DNA and other cell components. Fruits and vegetables in a wide array of colours provide the best mix of protective antioxidants to boost overall health and immunity. Eat leafy greens, watermelon, carrots, berries, broccoli, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, and other brightly coloured produce to give your cells and immune system all the natural protection they need to function at their best. Homemade chicken soup with carrots, celery, and other veggies can also be a boon to your immune system.

Vitamins that are critical for immune function include vitamins A, C, D, and E. Zinc, selenium, and magnesium are minerals that your immune system needs to function at its best.

Some research has suggested that compounds in herbs and supplements can enhance immunity. Garlic, ginger, astragalus, milk thistle, ginseng, green tea, black cumin, and licorice are just a few herbs that have been reported to have immune boosting benefits. Talk to your doctor of pharmacist before including herbs and supplements into your regimen.

#2- Hydrate As we head into winter and the days get cooler, people might forget to drink as much water and keep their hydration up. Staying hydrated is so important as it helps eliminate toxins and carries oxygen to the blood cells. Make sure you’re getting at least 2.5 litres of water a day, set an alarm reminder on your phone if it helps. #3- Sleep

Several studies confirm the link between sleep and a healthy immune system. Most people need between 7 to 9 hours to feel adequately rested. Being well rested improves the function of white blood cells, so you're less likely to get illnesses like respiratory infections, colds, and the flu. Practice good sleep hygiene to optimize sleep. That means waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. Avoid substances that can interfere with sleep, like caffeine and alcohol, for several hours before bedtime. You're more likely to sleep well if your bedroom is cooler and you have established a relaxing evening routine before bedtime.

#4- Manage stress

Don’t Panic! Chronic stress depresses the immune system and increases the risk of several types of illnesses. Even though sickness can be stressful, worrying excessively about illness or anything in general can increase stress hormones and weaken the immune system. When we're stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. Manage your stress levels as best you can. #5- Stay active & get fresh air Regular exercise is one of the pillars for healthy living and is also a known immune booster! It improves cardiovascular function, lowers blood pressure, helps control a healthy body weight and protects against a variety of diseases. The more oxygen available for you to breathe, the more your lungs dilate so getting fresh air to the body the lungs and helps cleanse and eliminate toxins from the lungs. Get out of the poorly ventilated office, open up a window or try going for a brisk walk in the morning!

#6- Be Hygienic This one may be a no brainer but remember to keep as hygienic as you can. This involves washing hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and staying home if you’re feeling unwell.

Try these tips to boost your immune system and stay healthy!

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