Changes in weather lead everyone to huddle and snuggle indoors for the winter months resulting in rampant spreading of the cold, flu, and other viruses (RSV, COVID, you know, the icky ones). The close proximity, combined with the lack of fresh air, gives germs ample opportunity to jump from one person to the next with ease, running amuck through immune systems.
Though getting sick is a normal part of life, there are ways to try and avoid it. With these top tricks for boosting your immune system, you can protect yourself against the common flu and cold viruses to make it through the winter without so much as a sneeze.
Why are the Cold and Flu so Contagious?
The cold and flu are highly contagious infections, spreading quickly via mucus, saliva, or other bodily secretions. While the most common means of germ transmission is through sneezing and coughing, which can launch germ-infested droplets up to six feet in all directions, you can also transmit it through touch. If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth and then a surface shortly after, said surface will remain infected with germs for up to 24 hours.
You or other carriers can transmit germs for a considerable length of time. When it comes to the flu, you are contagious one day before your symptoms start and up to one week afterward. As for the cold, you are contagious between one to two days before you develop symptoms and up to two weeks after exposure. The long period of contagion, combined with germs’ ability to live on surfaces for up to one day, make both cold and flu viruses extremely contagious.
How can I Boost my Immune System this Winter?
Now that you know why the cold and flu viruses are so contagious, let's explore ways in which you can boost your immune system this winter.
Eat a healthy breakfast
A well-rounded diet is essential for ensuring your body has the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function optimally and fight off foreign bodies, such as germs. The best diet begins with a healthy breakfast.
A healthy breakfast consists of whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. It is also devoid of simple sugars and processed foods, which deplete nutrients and prevent optimal immune system operation.
Flush toxins with herbal ingredients
Supplement your diet with herbal cleanses, which help to rid your body of toxins so you can make more room for beneficial vitamins and nutrients. You can drink Detoxify’s herbal cleanses frequently and, in the process, benefit from some of nature’s most powerful ingredients, like:
- American ginseng root
- Dandelion leaf
- Guarana seed
- Green tea
- Juniper berry
- Milk thistle
Each of these ingredients supports your circulatory and urinary cleansing systems, aids in healthy bodily functioning, and improves immune response.
Eat more shrooms
More recent research shows that medical mushrooms (Not the hallucinogenic kind — sorry!) serve as turbo shots for your immune system.1 The list of types of mushrooms Mother Nature provides us is lengthy, so we’ve narrowed it down to the most powerful contenders:
- Reishi: In the mushroom world, reishi is a powerhouse for its health properties. In addition to aiding in weight loss, combatting cancer and boosting the immune system, reishi eases the symptoms of depression and anxiety and encourages better sleep, which is crucial for optimal immune system function.
- Shiitake: From your heart to your liver, shiitake keeps your essential organs in tip-top shape. A dose of shiitake has been proven to reduce LDLs, inhibit the production and absorption of cholesterol in the liver, and maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.
- Turkey Tails: Most medicinal mushrooms contain some sort of cancer fighting agent, but turkey tails outdo them all in this regard, as they contain a compound called polysaccharide-K. PSK has been proven to improve the survival rates of people with certain types of cancers and is so effective at beating cancer cells that Japan recognizes it as an approved anticancer medication.
The bottom line is, eat your shrooms. Your immune system will thank you.
Heal your gut
Poor gut health leads to a myriad of issues, including poor health and chronic illness. Three of the most effective methods for healing your gut are as follows:
- Take probiotics, which help to restore the natural balance of beneficial and bad bacteria in the gut. This balance helps to keep illness and inflammation at bay.
- Add Polisorb to your diet. Polisorb quickly removes toxins from your digestive system so you can make room for beneficial gut flora.
- Eat the best food for a healthy gut, such as bananas, onions, garlic, whole grains, soybeans, and artichokes.
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Up your antioxidants
Antioxidants are your best defense against free radicals, which significantly contribute to cancer, heart disease, and other chronic ailments. They also combat infectious diseases, including the cold, flu, and other viruses.
Stress triggers the production of a hormone called cortisol, which inhibits the immune system. By stressing less, you can keep cortisol and, subsequently, illness, at bay.
Stressing less is often easier said than done. For inspiration, consider these simple de stressing activities:
- Meditation and breathwork
Address your allergies
When you live with untreated allergies, your immune system may become weaker, thereby making you more susceptible to everyday viruses. If you have allergies, do what you can to avoid triggers. Talk to your doctor about allergy medications if you can't avoid them.
Gargling saltwater is not just a neat trick for easing a sore throat — it also helps to keep bacteria and germs at bay. The salt acts as a barrier, blocking harmful pathogens and reducing your chances of getting sick.
Garlic, garlic, garlic!
Garlic, no matter how you slice it (literally), is a powerful immune-boosting agent.2 Studies show eating garlic daily can reduce your chances of becoming ill by 63% while reducing the severity of your symptoms and the length of your illness.
Say Hello! to Zinc
Though researchers are still trying to untangle the why of it, zinc does have long-established immune-boosting properties. Some more notable benefits of zinc include its ability to heal wounds, fight infections and reduce the number of respiratory infections you develop throughout the year.
There is no shortage of ways to strengthen your immune system. These are just the top 10, and, for their proven effectiveness, they are certainly worth trying.