It’s no surprise that the winter months can be hard on the immune system. When the temperatures start to drop we are more likely to hide indoors and reach for the thermostats. Spending more time indoors during the colder months is hard to avoid completely, but can cause illnesses to be more easily spread.
The best things you can do to stay healthy during cold and flu season is to exercise outside (yep, fresh air goes a long way), wash your hands and ask coworkers to stay home if they feel under the weather, and make sure you are boosting your immune system with the right foods.
Here are five foods shown to help boost your immune system and keep your body happy and healthy.
#1 Probiotic-rich foods
Gut health is super important for immune health, so make sure your are getting your probiotics. A healthy gut microbiome communicates with immune system cells and controls how your body responds to infection. There have even been links between proper brain function, overall mood and gut health. We all know we can get a little stir crazy during the Winter months, so give your body (and brain) a leg up! Try adding a scoop of Orgain Organic Superfoods powder to your favorite smoothie recipe or just a glass or water in the afternoon or morning to give you an extra boost of those all powerful probiotics. There are 5 billion in every scoop!
#2 Complete Proteins
Amino acids commonly found in proteins help construct the building blocks for any good immune system. Our bodies are made up of thousands of different types of proteins and making sure they get the proper fuel needed to grow and function is vital to keeping your body running smoothly. Orgain’s line of protein powders and on-the-go protein drinks makes it easy to keep your body properly supplied with the recommended amount of protein.
#3 Eight Glasses a Day
True, water is not technically considered a food group but let’s be honest, being properly hydrated is crucial to our health. If you’re lacking in energy and drive, it could be because you’re not getting enough water. Keep in mind that the average person should be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day in order to be properly hydrated. Consider snagging a new water bottle that fits your lifestyle (and cupholder!). But what should you be looking out for? If you’re opting for a plastic water bottle make sure it is BPA free. Not a fan of plastic? Luckily there are plenty of stainless steel options that now have a dual purpose of holding hot and cold drinks due to the double-walled feature. Glass bottles are also a great option. Whatever type you chose, just make sure you’re keeping it close, clean, and constantly filled!
#4 Leafy Greens
Greens are good, no, great! Leafy greens like spinach and kale are chock-full of antioxidants and beta carotene. Lightly cooking spinach is the best way to release all of it’s immune boosting goodness. It increases the amount of vitamin A in the plant and allows us to fully absorb its nutrients. If you’re a smoothie fan adding a handful of spinach or kale to your smoothie can give it the extra vitamins and nutrients you may be missing from your diet. Looking for the perfect smoothie recipe to incorporate into your daily routine this Winter? Give our Clean Green Smoothie a try!
#5 Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes are loaded with Vitamin C which we all know is a great ingredient for keeping our immune systems happy. Instead of waiting until you catch the sniffles, try adding some of these powerful fruits into your daily diet. It’s important to get your daily dose of Vitamin C, in one form or another, because the human body does not store it or produce it. So next time you’re at the grocery store grab a few bags of citrus fruits and get creative; add oranges to your salads, lemon and limes to your water. Any way you can (literally) squeeze it into your daily routine will be beneficial.
If you're reading closely you'll notice that this list is not only great for the immune system, but great for all of your systems. A clean, thoughtful diet goes a long way. The best thing you can do for your immune system is to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle year-round. And keep washing those hands!