Temperatures are dropping! Time to figure out how to boost immune system in winter before the cold hits - pun intended.
Winter is coming, and so are the germs.
Help your body build up its natural defenses against the flu, sore throat and other common winter illnesses with easy lifestyle adjustments, hearty foods, vitamins to boost immune system response, and more.
Learning how to boost your immune system doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are many easy ways to support yourself that don’t cost much and are available to you already.
Nutrition is a big part of it, but there’s more to staying healthy during winter than just investing in vitamins to boost immune system response - although those are great - and you can put them into practice starting today!
How to Boost the Immune System in Winter - 20 Easy Ways
#1 Eat Breakfast
You’re probably not expecting to find “breakfast” in a search for tips on how to boost immune system in winter, but research shows that people who skip on the day’s first meal are more likely to catch colds and other winter illnesses.
#2 Drink More Water
The lower the room temperature, the easier it is for you to forget to drink water, which could lead to mild dehydration and lower your defenses. Make sure you’re drinking enough water for the activities you do every day. If you’re working out make sure you count that in
#3 Pay Attention to Your Coffee and Tea Intake
Wintertime is hot drink time, but is your tea habit working against you? Some teas are diuretic, which leads to losing more water than you take in.
Coffee, green, black, hibiscus, dandelion, and even chamomile tea may make you lose more liquid than intended. Mind the number of cups you have per day and compensate with water.
#4 Keep Working Out!
If you want to know how to boost immune system in winter, look no further than the gym. Researchers found that exercising could give you 50% more chances to stay healthy and avoid cold viruses, and if the worst came to pass it might also reduce the severity of an infection.
#5 Consider Intermittent Fasting
It’s better if you don’t skip breakfast altogether, but keeping a safe intermittent fasting schedule may boost immune system response. When the body starts going into intermittent fasting, it kicks into gear and regenerates white blood cells needed to fight off invading organisms.
#6 Clear the Gutter
And we’re not talking about backed-up leaves and rainwater, but we are talking about getting backed-up. When the good bacteria in the gut are outnumbered by unhealthy ones, the immune system is compromised.
#7 Eat Immune System Boosting Foods
We put together a list of 20 foods that boost the immune system and we definitely recommend checking that out (spoiler alert, chocolate is included!) but the abridged version is this: focus on citrus foods, berries, cruciferous greens, and fruits or vegetables high in antioxidants.
#8 Get Your Shrooms On
Not the psychedelic kind! Mushrooms like Reishi, Shiitake, Turkey Tail and Chaga are full of antioxidants and immunity modulating beta-glucans. These polysaccharides are good types of sugar that support natural macrophage and T-killer cells that seek and destroy invading viruses.
A small study following fire-fighters showed that consuming beta-glucans reduced the chances of getting a cold by 23%.
#9 Add Zinc to Your Diet
People often look for vitamins to boost immune system response, but they hardly ever think of minerals. Research shows that zinc homeostasis is crucial to keeping defenses up if you’re looking into how to boost immune system for winter in a natural way - get some Zinc!
Eat clams, oysters, shrimp, and seafood. If you’re vegan or plant-based, then spinach, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, miso, cacao, and cashews do the trick.
#10 Try Golden Milk
Turmeric, the sunset-yellow spice, from India could help boost your immune system for winter due to its high antioxidant power, antibacterial properties, and antimicrobial potential.
Additionally, the University of Oregon found in an independent study that it may also support the natural production of the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP, a protein that helps prevent infections. A great way to have it is a deliciously warm golden tea latte.
#11 Get Enough Sleep
Yes! Want to know how to boost immune system in winter? Get seven to eight hours of sleep regularly. There’s a relationship between cortisol and sleep deprivation, where this “stress hormone” rises the more tired your system is.
An overtaxed or stressed body becomes quickly depleted of energy, which in turn lowers your defenses and makes you easy prey for viruses.
#12 Don’t Stress, Meditate
A stressed body is a compromised one. A growing body of evidence suggests that when you’re body is a constant or persistent state of fear, anxiety, or stress, you could experience adrenal fatigue and become more susceptible to viruses, colds, and more.
#13 Eat or Drink Rosehip
What is rosehip good for? Supporting the immune system, making your skin glow, potentially supporting gut health. Rosehip buds are edible in oil form and powdered extract, they boast 50 times the Vitamin C of lemons and could have positive immunomodulatory effects.
#14 Get a Massage
How to boost immune system in winter? With a delicious massage that focuses on releasing the lymphatic system. This lowers cortisol levels, feels good and activates the body’s defense system. (BRB booking a massage for my health)
#15 Wash Your Hands Often and Well
An alarmingly large number of people don’t wash their hands; in the US, a 2015 review found that only 66% of people did it and not all correctly. The US Center for Disease Control has a whole page dedicated to proper hand-washing. Do it thoroughly and scrub for at least 20 seconds.
#16 Switch to Coconut Oil as Skin Moisturizer
Your skin needs hydration, especially during the winter, it’s the body’s largest organ and an important member of the immune system - it’s the first barrier against invaders. Switching to coconut oil could help keep that barrier healthier, as it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Don’t use lotion? Think of it as an alternative to vitamins to boost immune system response that just happens to go on your skin. Also, you’ll smell great.
#17 Try Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
So, you’re researching “how to boost immune system in winter” and we’re over here talking about cleaning supplies, but they’re related. Most traditional cleaning supplies are full of dangerous toxins that overwhelm the liver - it absorbs everything you eat, touch and breathe.
To support healthy liver function and immune response, the fewer toxins, the better. Green products strive to be as non-toxic as possible and they could help to keep you healthy past the cold months.
#18 Stay Warm
Another alternative to vitamins to boost immune system response is fashion. Yes, fashion! Make sure your winter clothing keeps your feet warm, and your head, hands, and neck covered.
It’s not the weather that makes you sick, it’s the continuous and rapid change in temperatures that lead the body to shock.
#19 Eat Less Sugar
Nobody likes to hear this (we can almost hear you sticking your fingers in your ears saying “la la la”) but excess sugar consumption, an all too easy feat during the holiday, could lead to internal inflammation. An acidic and inflamed body might become a breeding ground for viruses, colds, and the flu.
A nice option to stop sugar cravings? A healthy chocolate substitute, sweet but anti-inflammatory.
#20 Stay Connected
Another unexpected way to support immunity. You may be surprised, but hanging around other people could help. We know it sounds counterproductive! How to boost immune system in winter with people, when they could be carrying germs themselves?
Simple: human connection; research shows that loneliness lowers immunity and the reason behind it may be psychological stress.
#21 Drink Ginger-Based Infusions
One of our favorite superfoods, fresh ginger root infusions, and powder- extract ones could help clear the airways, reduce inflammation, support antioxidant forces, and more. In our search for how to boost the immune system in winter, we find ourselves returning to this ginger-turmeric tea.
#22 Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol has been linked to immune system suppression and inhibition. If you want to know how to boost immune system in winter and keep your eggnog, it’s easy - go for mocktails.
There are over 200 variations of the common cold, avoiding one entirely could be nearly impossible. However, learning how to boost the immune system in winter could help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to be ready and either prevent or cut the severity of the illness significantly.