Slurping some warm pumpkin soup with nutmeg, inhaling lavender or myrrh essential oil, attending a yoga class, walking in the park. How do these little activities sound? More like an indulgence and a holiday? Well, these simple but powerful activities are the very foundation for building a strong immune system, especially for winter.

Your ‘inner environment’ (your body) and not your ‘external environment’ (cold weather, viruses, etc.) determines whether you get sick or not. Here are seven contributing factors to consider when looking to boost your immune system.

1. Exercise

Exercise assists with decreasing your stress levels, improving the quality of your sleep and keeps the lymphatic system moving, thereby defending the body against infection. Rebounding on a trampoline does wonders for your lymphatic system.

2. Hydration

It is hard to drink fluids in winter, and many people opt for caffeine-based drinks, which can dehydrate the body even further. A good option would be to sip on herbal teas like ginger and lemon, turmeric, holy basil (Tulsi). Fresh homemade soups are an excellent way to get in some fluid that is packed with nutrients.

3. Vitamin D levels

80% of people have suboptimal levels of Vitamin D, which assists with whole-body immunity. Check your levels with a blood test at a local lab. Daily exposure to sunlight also boosts Vitamin D levels.

4. Stressors

Identify the stressors in your life and if you are feeling overwhelmed in any way, join a Tai Chi or yoga class. Breathing techniques also reduce stress, and adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Rhodiola can be helpful.

5. Sleep

Ensure good quality and quantity of sleep. The average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep.

6. Medication

Avoid taking painkillers or other over-the-counter medication unnecessarily.

7. Supplements

Here are supplements to consider, especially if you’re prone to becoming sick in winter. You don’t have to take all of them.

These should not be used during pregnancy without a doctor’s supervision. Any time you are using natural remedies like herbal supplements, it is good to do it under the care of your doctor or nutritionist.

• A good-quality probiotic
• Glutamine powder
• Liposomal or buffered Vitamin C daily
• A multivitamin
• Echinacea
• Black Elderberry
• Essential oils – like myrrh, oregano or tea tree

By Dr Hema Kalan
Originally published 10 May 2019

You may also want to read this post on staying motivated to exercise when it’s cold outside.