Cold and flu season is quickly approaching! The typical always-wash-your-hands advice is always a safe bet, but there are a few other things that you can do to bolster your immune system and keep the cold at bay.
First and foremost, one of the best ways to build a healthy immune system is to build a healthy gut. Your gut is responsible for 80% of your immune system, which means a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system! Probiotics are key to a healthy gut. These can be found in a probiotic supplement (i.e. a pill or gummy) or through fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha tea, tempeh (a vegan meat substitute made with fermented soybeans), and kimchi. These probiotics are not only going to help your digestive health, but will help get you ready to fight off flu season.
Another way to fight the flu is eating foods high in antioxidants. These little guys are going to help fight off free radicals and keep your cells functioning at a healthy level. Foods like berries, greens, artichokes, tomatoes, broccoli, green tea and nuts like pecans and walnuts are all full of antioxidants. These antioxidants also work to fight inflammation, which can cause damage to your cells and tissues. Antioxidants help fight and repair this damage, which equates to a pumped up immune system.
A third way to build a healthy immune system is exercise. That’s right, your daily sweat sessions can help keep you healthy! When you exercise, your body produces some feel good hormones that not only help you feel good immediately (that endorphin high is real, ya’ll!), but it also slows down the production of the stress hormones like cortisol, which can make you sick. Exercise also causes changes in your white blood cells which can help fight off disease infection.
This combination is the immune-strengthening trio you need to fight the flu and survive cold season!