Cooler temperatures bring shorter days, warmer clothes, and the yearly occurrence of sniffles, sneezes, coughs, and congestion. Here are 7 effective ways to support your immune system this cold & flu season:
This may seem obvious, but significant portions of the population simply don’t consume enough fluids and electrolytes each day. Our bodies are mostly made of water, and water is used for hundreds and hundreds of biological processes (as are electrolytes).
Deficiencies in water or any one electrolyte undermines how you feel and perform throughout the day, including your immune system. Furthermore, staying properly hydrated also helps the body naturally detox and cleanse toxins, which helps support total body health and well-being.
While most individuals focus solely on consuming water to fulfill hydration requirements, the truth is that you need a mixture of water and electrolytes to stay properly hydrated. To learn more about the benefits of electrolytes, click here.
#2 Wash Your Hands
Hand-washing was a major focus the past few years, but really it’s something you should have been doing since you were a kid. Properly washing your hands with soap and water (not just using hand sanitizer) helps reduce germ transfer, infection and cross-contamination (such as when you’re working with raw proteins -- chicken, beef, shellfish, etc.).
“Proper” hand-washing entails 5 easy steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together with the soap, and lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel (paper or cloth) or an air dryer.
#3 Prioritize Sleep
Sleeping as little as possible all for the sake of mimicking the much-publicized habits of high-level business execs and tech moguls has become fashionable in recent years, if not some weird badge of honor. And while that might work for some outliers, it should not be the “norm” and is far from what the vast majority of human beings require.
Sleep deprivation is a MAJOR stressor to the body -- one that disrupts:
- Mental & physical performance
- Muscle recovery
- Fat burning
- Appetite/Hunger cues
Not getting enough sleep also serves as a major disruptor to immune system functioning. Routinely skimping on sleep increases your likelihood for getting sick as well as delaying your recovery and/or exasperating feelings of illness.
As such, make it a priority (especially this time of year) to get enough sleep each and every night. Some tips to help get great sleep each and every night include:
- Reducing blue light at least 2 hours before bed
- Taking a warm bath/shower
- Avoiding sources of stress before bed (social media, news outlets, work emails, etc.)
- Reading before bed
- Stretching/light yoga
- Not drinking before bed
You can also use a nighttime relaxation & recovery aid, such as 1UP Beauty Dream PM or Recharge PM that contains natural ingredients to help unwind and promote feelings of calm, which helps you achieve the deep, restorative sleep you need to recover, re-energize, and stay healthy.
#4 Focus on Gut Health
Gut health has become a HUGE topic of discussion and research the past 5-10 years. Largely this is due to more and more studies showing the myriad ways that the gut impacts virtually every aspect of daily life, including mood, skin, weight loss, and immune function.
A healthy gut begins with eating a healthy diet -- one rich in plant foods, including fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, reds & greens. These foods are rich in countless compounds that nurture and support gut health.
Other factors to consider are getting enough sleep, reducing/managing stress levels, and avoiding/restricting foods that irritate/aggravate the gut (e.g. alcohol, fried foods, processed foods, etc.). You can also use supplements to support a healthy gut, including prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, such as those included in our premium gut health product offerings.
#5 Stay Active
Regular exercise is an essential, yet vastly underemphasized, immune system booster. For decades it was believed (wrongly) that exercising intensely was detrimental to the immune system. However, unless you’re an endurance athlete training/competing daily for hours and hours on end coupled with excessive lifestyle stress and chronic sleep deprivation, a hour of intense exercise 4-5 times per week is actually good for your body (i.e. not detrimental to your immune system).
Even if you feel slightly under the weather (e.g. sniffles, stuffy nose, etc.) performing some light physical activity is beneficial. The reason for this is that exercise increases circulation, raises core temperature, and helps flush toxins, all of which help improve immune function. Just don’t go so hard that you wreck yourself.
#6 Don’t Touch Your Face
Rubbing your eyes, touching your lips, or (heaven forbid) sticking your finger in your nose all serve to increase the risk of introducing disease-causing bacteria into your body and stressing your immune system.
As we’ve already mentioned, washing your hands regularly is an important part of boosting your immune system during cold & flu season. In addition to that, you should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible to limit the potential for spreading potentially harmful germs.
#7 Use the Right Supplements
Hard training, lifestyle stress, and sleep deprivation all take a toll on our bodies, and with that nutrient requirement increase compared to sedentary individuals living a relatively stress-free life. In addition to consuming a nutritious diet, adding the right supplements to your daily nutrition plan can help support a healthy immune system.
At a minimum we like to use a daily multivitamin, such as 1UP Multi-Go Men or Multi-Go Women. For added support, it may be beneficial to try a Reds & Greens Superfood supplement or whey protein powder, which contains beneficial bioactives that support immune function.
Boosting immune system function is as much about doing the “right” things as it is avoiding the “wrong” things that could impair or limit proper function of the immune system. Use the tips outlined above to enhance your health and well-being this cold & flu season so that you can continue to hit your nutrition goals, crush your workouts, and dominate your transformation challenge!