6 Ways to Hack Your Immune System This Winter
As the temperature drops, the days shorten, and the inevitable gloom of winter approaches, you may be dreading the cold and flu season. Plus, for the second winter in a row, your immune system has another threat to contend with – COVID-19.
Keep reading as we explore 6 biohacks to help your immune system defeat winter germs. Let's dive in!
1. Boost Your Vitamin D Levels
What supplements should I take during winter to avoid colds and flu?
We get asked this question by our customers all the time.
If we have to pick one, it’s vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is an immune-supportive nutrient synthesised when your skin comes into contact with sunlight. Needless to say, chronic vitamin D deficiency is common in winter in the Northern hemisphere. Ironically, vitamin D production tends to be lowest when you need it most.
A vitamin D supplement may reduce your risk of coming down with a respiratory infection1. It may even protect you from complications associated with COVID-192.
At Pure Health, our Vitamin D3 + K2 formula comes in a highly absorbable and bioactive liposomal form. It contains 2500 IU of D3 along with 100 mg of K2.
However, speak to your doctor and have your vitamin D levels tested before supplementing.
2. Stay Active
Exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing on dark, cold winter days. We don't blame you. But physical activity is essential for a robust immune system3. It may help you fight infections by:
- Stimulating antibody and white blood cell activity
- Enhancing detoxification via your skin, lungs, and digestive system
- Pumping lymph fluid around your body
- Reducing stress
Making time for 30 minutes of physical activity per day is a must for strong immunity. Walking, dancing, yoga, cycling, hiking, and swimming are examples of moderate-intensity exercise that can improve immune function.
3. Up Your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps your immune system produce infection-fighting white blood cells4. However, your body can't make vitamin C, so it must be consumed – especially during winter when germs are rampant.
You can stock up on vitamin C-rich foods like berries, citrus, sweet potato, and broccoli. A supplement also offers extra support. Our Liposomal Vitamin C offers 1000 mg of vitamin C per packet. It's delivered in a lipid pocket, protecting the contents from the harsh enzymes in your digestive tract.
4. Get Good Quality Sleep
Your immune system depends on restorative sleep to function well. However, the dark winter days can confuse your circadian rhythm – disrupting your sleep-wake cycle. This can make you feel rundown and more likely to get sick.
One of the best things you can do is create a routine and go to bed at the same time every night. Wind down before bed by avoiding the blue light emitted from your smartphone, laptop, and electronic devices. Instead, read a book, have a warm bath, meditate, or listen to an audiobook. In addition, taking our Pure Health Collagen Powder may help you catch more Zzzs by providing the amino acid glycine linked to better sleep5
These habits will retrain your circadian rhythm, so you can sleep soundly and fight off germs.
5. Manage Your Stress Levels
Do you get sick when you're stressed?
Psychological stress puts your body into survival mode. If stress becomes chronic, it exhausts your body and leaves you vulnerable to infection6.
You can’t eliminate stress, but learning to reduce your stress response can help you build a resilient immune system. A great way to do this is to slow your breathing down. We recommend an exercise called "box breathing":
- Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 4 while expanding into your belly.
- Hold your breath for a count of 4.
- Breathe out for a count of 4 through your mouth with a "shhh" sound.
- Hold for a count of 4.
- Repeat for 5 minutes.
Navy Seals reportedly use box breathing to remain calm in stressful situations!
6. Don't Forget About Gut Health
Your digestive system is home to trillions of "friendly" bacteria. While it might sound weird, these bugs are one of the first lines of defence against pathogens. So, keeping your gut functioning well should be a priority if you want to stay healthy this winter.
One way to do this is to focus on eating more soluble fibre – the kind found in apples, citrus, berries, oats, carrots, legumes, and nuts. It feeds your gut bacteria, and research suggests soluble fibre may help you recover faster if you come down with a bug7.
Regular exercise, supplementing with vitamin C and D3, good sleep, and eating a whole food diet are habits that give your body the tools to fight off infections.
For more information on which supplements to use this winter, check out our Pure Health Immunity Range.
Please help us spread the word by sharing this article with anyone struggling with frequent winter infections.