Building a stronger immune system may require work, but it might be easier than you think, depending on your needs. For starters, increasing your chances of fighting off certain illnesses may only require making practical lifestyle adjustments or getting a flu shot, while others might be more challenging and require additional support.
Our goal at NWPC is to support our patients by offering advice on how to support your immune system this winter. Here are five tips you can use to improve your health during the cold and flu season.
1. Get a flu shot
The CDC found that individual vaccinations prevent tens of thousands of hospitalizations every year. Those encouraging numbers should highlight the importance of getting a flu shot even if you’re healthy. Vaccinations act as one of the best methods for protecting your immune system while preventing the spread of influenza.
When should you get a flu shot? We recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible because it can take up totwo weeks after your vaccination for the antibodies that protect you to develop in your body. If you’re an NWPC patient or wish to become one, we invite you to visit one of our clinics to get yours at your convenience.
2. Boost your immune system naturally with nutrient-rich foods
Many of our patients ask us, “How do I boost my immune system naturally?” The answer to that question varies depending on the individual, but generally, we recommend a few practical dietary alterations that make it easy for anybody to add vitamin B, Zinc, vitamin C, or antioxidant-rich foods to their day. These food choices may include:
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruits
- Vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and garlic
- Leafy greens like spinach or kale
- Ginger or turmeric
- Poultry or shellfish
Adding some or all of these options to your plate are great first steps to boosting your immune system naturally, but if you need additional dietary advice, we recommend consulting with an NWPC physician to suggest a diet best suited to your needs.
3. Remember to prioritize your mental health
Your mental health should be a priority during any season, but we know it can be even more challenging to manage it in the winter or during the holidays. If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression in the winter, you’re not alone. Anxiety and depression are normal reactions to stress that affect roughly 18% of adults. If you’re not aware, symptoms include feelings of fear, nervousness, anticipation, isolation, concern, and others that impact your mental well-being and compromise your immune system.
The first step to taking action with your mental health is to consult with your doctor to discuss a plan that’s right for you. If you wish to take action before your appointment, you can add a few basic routines to your day that often lower stress levels and increase immunity like taking a walk, reducing caffeine, or taking supplements.
4. Make the right lifestyle choices
If you wish to take a holistic approach to boost your immune system, we recommend substituting lifestyle choices that may negatively impact your body’s defense with others that improve it. Your doctor might recommend making choices like exercising more, changing your diet, and moderating alcohol to enhance your chances of fighting off an illness. Ultimately, the goal is to make a plan that accommodates your age and personal needs. Additional lifestyle adjustments may include:
- Prioritizing sleep
- Adding probiotics or fermented foods to your diet
- Limiting sugars
- Drinking more water
- Taking supplements
- Quit smoking
- And other lifestyle adjustments specific to you
5. Schedule a check-up with your physician
Your doctor is your go-to resource for recommending and finding the right solutions for boosting your immune system that match your needs. Along with the advice above, they’ll help you build a plan that will support you through any changes that might be challenging to accomplish or provide practical ones that allow you to take action now.
NWPC is here for you. If you’d like to schedule an appointment to see your physician for a check-up or get a flu vaccine, we always welcome new and existing patients. Contact us to schedule an appointment with an NWPC physician today!