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How to strengthen your immune system this winter

Your immune system is instrumental in helping your body fight off bacteria and infections and as winter approaches, you are more likely to fall ill. Strengthen your immune system this winter with a few simple steps and ensure a healthier season for yourself and loved ones.

If there is one thing colder weather brings, it’s colds and other common illnesses. There has long been a widely held suspicion that cold weather can make you sick, and scientists have fought to prove the connection, which they have now done (see:proven true). According to Medical News Daily, viruses that cause colds spread more easily in lower temperatures, and exposure to cold, dry air may negatively impact the body’s immune system.

But what is your immune system? And how does it help fight off illness?

Your immune system is all the things that help your body fight off infection, such as antibodies, cells and many other things that keep us healthy.While it is important to keep a strong and balanced immune system, you may still fall ill. With the right lifestyle changes and ascertaining what you need, you can build up your immune system, allowing you to be less susceptible to common ailments.

Firstly, you should eat a balanced diet. Your body needs many nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as minerals like Selenium, Zinc, and Omega 3. These help to support your immune system. Focus on eating whole foods such as quality animal protein legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid processed foods and products with artificial sweeteners or refined sugar.

A common tip to boost your immune system is to get plenty of vitamin C and cook with herbs and spices such as onions, garlic, ginger, black peppercorns, cayenne pepper, allspice, curry powder and turmeric.

It is also important that you stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps in the production of lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells. Add lemon to your water, which will provide extra vitamin C.

Not getting enough sleep can leave you at risk to illnesses as the body rejuvenates and strengthens when it is at rest. Get at least 7 to 8 hours’ sleep a day.

Follow these tips through winter and avoid antibiotics if possible, as they have been shown to attack beneficial bacteria in the digestive system (where about 80% of your immune system is located) and suppress immune functions. Don’t let common ailments stop you from enjoying this winter season.

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