5 Simple Tips for Boosting Your Immune System in Winter

As our first line of defense against any sort of infection, it is important to take good care of our immune system. Our tips for boosting your immune system will help you to get through cold and flu season healthily and happily.
5 Simple Tips for Boosting Your Immune System in Winter

Nobody could have gotten through 2020 without hearing a lot of advice on how to avoid virus infections – wash your hands, wear a mask and keep a safe distance from each other. And while these measures surely can help to reduce the spread of viruses and bacterias, another great way to avoid any kind of illness – be it the coronavirus, the flu or just a simple cold – is to strengthen one’s immune system. If you follow our tips for boosting your immune system in winter, then there is a greater chance that you will not get sick or, if you do get sick after all, that you will recover sooner. 


What Is the Immune System?

In case you have already forgotten your biology lessons, here is a little refresher: Our immune system is responsible for fighting viruses, fungi and bacteria. So if this system does not work properly, we will get sick more easily. 

Our immune system consists out of two parts: The innate immune system, with which we are born. And the adaptive immune system, which is developed by microbes such as bacteria and viruses. This produces antibody cells to better protect the body from intruders.

The skin, the mucous membranes and the intestinal bacteria are the first lines of defense of the immune system. All the defense cells ( the white blood cells) are produced in the bone marrow. The thymus, spleen, tonsils, and certain parts of the intestinal tract prepare defensive cells for various tasks. Lymph nodes, as checkpoints, are found in many parts of the body. These stop the pathogens.

Other organs involved in protecting the body include:

Lungs: which use the mucous membranes and bronchi to catch and expel bacteria by coughing.

Skin: a waterproof barrier around our body that produces bactericidal oils, excreting saliva and sweat for cleansing.

Digestive system: Some antibodies live in the lining of the intestines, stomach acid kills most microbes. Fluid intake helps get rid of bacteria by passing urine.


What Can Weaken Your Immune System?

The most common causes are stress, inadequate sleep, too many processed and sugary foods, smoking and alcohol.

Stress, whether physical, mental or emotional, strongly affects and weakens the immune system. This is because stress hormones like cortisol reduce white blood cells (lymphocytes), which help fight infections.  


Reduce Stress for a Strong Immune System

In addition to the immune system, our body also has an autonomic nervous system. This is what controls the automatic processes that take place in your body, such as breathing, digestion, and blood circulation. There two branches of the autonomic nervous system:

Sympathetic nervous system: Its stimulation triggers a so-called emergency response, i.e. it prepares the body for stressful situations. It stimulates a “fight or flight” response, such as raising your heart rate, dilating your pupils, and inhibiting digestion. The hormone adrenaline is a part of it.

Parasympathetic nervous system: Responsible for restoring the body to rest, regenerating, and replenishing storage systems. It soothes the body by stimulating resting and digestive functions, slowing the heartbeat, relaxing muscles and promoting digestion.

These two systems are both useful and we need them for different life situations. But stress occurs when we spend more time with an activated sympathetic nervous system and thus do not have enough regeneration time left. That is, the parasympathetic nervous system doesn’t get a chance to replenish its storage systems.

The immune system is weakened mainly due to improper lifestyle, anxiety, anger, fear, bad habits. If we pay attention to these and protect ourselves from time spent in front of too many screens, stress at work, and toxic relationships and give the parasympathetic nervous system a chance to do its work, then we have already done a lot for a healthier lifestyle.

If we have been tolerating a stressful situation for a long time, then it might be hard to change that pattern. But we can take small steps that help us to start to spend more time in the stress-free, regeneration zone.


Relax and Live a Healthy Lifestyle to Boost Your Immune System in Winter

Given the cold weather in winter, we tend to opt for snuggling, passive comfort, rather than active, attentive recharging. Endless series and movie marathons, and sugary, greasy comfort foods reduce our vitality and don’t necessarily contribute to our regeneration. Follow our tips for boosting your immune system in winter to stay healthy even during the cold and dark months of the year.

1. Do Some Yoga

Any light yoga practice will help you linger in the relaxation zone to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Best practices for immune boosting are spinal or torso twisting movements as they massage the intestines and deliver fresh oxygen to the digestive system by twisting the torso.

Twisting exercises are also great to help relieve back and low back pain. If we sit or stand a lot, it is definitely worth doing these because of its positive effects.

woman doing yoga tips for boosting your immune system in winter

Have a look at the best yoga studios in Budapest and practice from home during an online class.

2. Practice Breathing Techniques or Pranayama

Breathing exercises can help you relax and activate your parasympathetic immune system.

In Buddhist yoga, there is a simple visualization practice to imagine inhaling freshness and vitality when breathing in and exhaling fatigue and stress when breathing out.

If we do breathing exercises in the sitting position before getting up and falling asleep,it gives a frame to our day and helps us to maintain a relaxed state. Try it!

3. Have Some Fruit Smoothies and Healthy Drinks

In winter, we tend to eat less fresh fruits and vegetables, even though our bodies would need them more. Make a banana or a vegetable smoothie. Or just combine your favorite fruits (you can even use frozen ones) to make a delicious and immune boosting smoothie.

An example is to mix oranges, ginger and turmeric together with a little water, and if you like it sweet, add a little honey to the drink. It’s full of vitamin C and an immune boosting bomb!

You can also try golden milk , a famous turmeric latte from India with many positive effects.

tips for boosting your immune system in winter


4. Get Your Vitamins

Some sources say that vitamin D can help to protect you against the Coronavirus, but there is still more research needed to confirm this theory. But we know for sure that during the winter months we produce much less of it, since its production is a response of our skin to sunlight. Therefore, it is recommended to take some vitamins, especially vitamins C and D, to keep our immune system strong even in winter.

5. Take a Walk in Nature

The fresh air and the closeness to nature have a calming effect on both our nervous system and every form of exercise is good for our overall health. It is worth taking a walk every day and if we can in a nearby first or park. Trees and plants have a beneficial effect on us. After all, we also came from nature, so this is an ancient connection.

Overal it is extremely important to get enough rest and regeneration. Pay attention to yourself and follow these tips for boosting your immune system in winter. Spring is coming slowly but surely, and in the meantime we will maintain our health!


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