Simple Immune Boosts for Winter

Winter where I live is long, cold, dark, and pretty much all things challenging to the immune system
Thankfully as a parent of 4, I’ve learned over the last several years how to keep our family healthy the majority of the time. We still get sick on occasion, but when we do it’s not usually as severe or as long as in years past.
Pick one, or try them all, these 10 tips will help you and yours build up that immune system so you can enjoy more of the cold season as well!

1. Start the day right –
Before you grab that first cup of coffee or tea,  have a cup of warm water with fresh lemon juice or bone broth. Both boost and support digestion, which has a direct tie to the immune system. It’s also a kinder way for the stomach when first waking up. 😉
2. Cut back on the sugars – 
Yes, it’s hard – holidays and long, cold winter weather can lead to over-indulging in sweet treats as a way to comfort. Moderation is key. I’m not crazy enough to think you’ll completely remove sugars. Make an effort to be more aware of them, like those sneaky ones in your morning coffee, as they put a strain on the immune system.
3. Handle life stresses –
Whatever stress comes in life, I’ve learned handling it vs stuffing it makes a world of difference. If that looks like a warm bath, a homemade favorite meal, a yoga class, sitting quietly in your car for a few, or a cup of coffee at your fave place, make it a priority. Also, research has shown taking a break every 50 minutes from whatever your work is, has huge benefits mentally and physically.
4. Grab some Elderberry syrup –
It’s a simple, effective supplement to boost the immune system and help you get over crud faster. Even more fun, is buying it locally made from friends in small business. 🙂
5. Supplement with Vitamin D – 
We live somewhere where at the worst, it’s dark by 3:30 in the afternoon and the sun isn’t up until 8am. When the sun is upit’s often obscured by cloudy skies or snow. Vitamin D is made in your body from exposure to the sun, so no sun, no Vitamin D. Grab yourself a high quality supplement and take it daily through the winter.
6. Get moving –
Not for that New Year’s resolution of weight loss, or that “beach body”, or as a punishment for your holiday enjoyment . Do something that feels good, that you enjoy, and get those endorphins released and the blood pumping. Me, I do casual yoga for stress relief in my home office or walk the kids to school.
7. Purge the pantry – 
Is your pantry overflowing with boxed and bag foods, while your fridge is looking abandoned ? It’s easy to get in an eating rut when your energy is low, the days are dark and cold, and you want to be comforted. Make a small effort to change up what you’re eating. Buy some seasonal fruits and veggies, and try something new. Even one veggie a day will do you good.
8. Add a probiotic –
Probiotics are those gut-supporting organisms you find in cultured foods like yogurt and kefir. Unfortunately, most yogurts have more sugar than a large candy bar. Taking a high quality probiotic supplement daily will help repopulate a digestive system that’s been taxed with sugars, a round of antibiotics, and stress.
9. Hunker down at home –
Whenever you can, take some extra down time at home. The Danish have a practice called hygge, which in a nutshell means purposefully making home a comforting, relaxing place to be and spending time with friends there over running around town at a breakneck speed. Get those comfy blankets out, grab a good book, and snuggle in for some down time! Nature slows down and so should we.
10. Multivitamins for the win –
I’m not talking the cheap bottle of 375 capsules,  mega-vitamin from Costco or Sam’s Club. I’m talking a whole food sourced, easily absorbed supplement that your body can actually break down and utilize. No matter how well you eat, it is very difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. A quality multi and mercury-free fish oil are building blocks for your best immune function and mental clarity.
11. Eat more garlic and ginger –
Both of these super foods boost the immune system a ton. Garlic is an easy one to add to most meals, and ginger can be added to your morning tea or fresh juice made at home or from a local juice joint. Even better, they’re already at your local grocery store waiting to come home with you.
12. Go to sleep!

This one gets an exclamation point. Nothing in our fast paced country is more undervalued than sleep. It is literally the most important thing you can do in life to get healthy, handle stress, find mental clarity, and enjoy yourself! Sleep is the time your body goes through all it’s resets, just like your computer or phone needs a good reboot. 7-8 hours minimum, no exceptions, and NO cell phones allowed in the bedroom. ( That’s a whole other post, stay tuned. )

With Love –
Sarah
The Wellness Crusader

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