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Home/Blog/Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Healthy, Including During Cooler Months

Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Healthy, Including During Cooler Months

By Rachel Link, RD, MS

September 26, 2023

Daily tips to boost immune system when it gets cold outside

It's the time of year when the weather starts to shift into colder mode, with more people getting colds and viruses, and plenty of challenges to our immune system. (Also see our article all about winter wellness.)

How do you and your loved ones stay healthy? Follow these eight simple steps to stay healthy during the colder months.

1. Eat Real Food

Real food is the food that is most natural, found in nature with the least amount of processing involved before it reaches your table.

This type of food helps to keep us healthy. Foods like apples, bone broth, fermented foods, carrots, raw nuts and seeds — and other fall foods to support a healthy immune system. Foods that haven’t been loaded with hormones, pesticides and other unnatural chemicals. These are the foods you can grow (or raise) in your own backyard in an organic garden or by raising your own chickens, for example.

Unfortunately, many foods that most Americans consume on a daily basis are essentially "fake" foods. These are the foods you’ll find on shelf after shelf, aisle after aisle at the grocery store. Foods that have been highly processed, modified and so transformed from their original state that they hardly resemble the original food at all.

Think cheese curls, soda, fruit snacks, microwave meals, etc.

Eating a variety of real, health-promoting foods should ideally provide your body with the nutrients (including plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbs, healthy fats and "wild" protein) it needs to function and stay healthy. This should be your first food choice on a daily basis.

And don't forget to cook with the best spices and herbs that also support your immune system, such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and oregano.

2. Support Your Immune System

Fortunately, nature provides us with a treasure trove of botanicals and other ingredients to support a healthy immune system. Of course, it can confusing to figure out which are the best at taking care of your immune system. Here are some of the top healthy immune system–supporting supplements:

Our vitamin C supplement is delivered in a gold-standard, liquid metabolite form that maximizes absorption for more sustained benefits, including a healthy response to inflammation. 

Multi Collagen Protein Immune promotes both healthy immune defense and antioxidant activity on top of a healthy gut, skin, hair and nails.

Speaking of a healthy gut, our once-daily SBO Probiotics Immune formula combines tough, effective probiotic strains with prebiotics, postbiotics and superfoods to support your healthy immune system. It supports both healthy digestion and immune system function.

Certain mushroom supplements such as Ancient Nutrition's Multi Mushroom Daily Immune Defense Tablets are also made with both ashwagandha and reishi. These support the body’s ability to adapt to stress, promote both immune system modulation and a cellular immune response, and support both a healthy nervous system and a healthy response to inflammation.

Most elderberry supplements on the market contain added sugars, which is counterintuitive to immune protection. This superior elderberry supplement is sourced from the highest quality elderberry, plus it's fermented to aid absorption. Among its many benefits, it supports a healthy immune system, healthy immune function and gut-related immunity.

3. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and stay healthy during the fall and winter months, when most people aren’t as active due to colder temps.

According to research, 30 minutes of exercise, three or four times a week, is the best way to boost your immune system, which can help support your overall health. Any more exercise than that could actually begin to have the reverse effect.

One study found running 10 miles a week boosted the immune system but raise that to 20 miles a week and there were diminishing returns.

4. Get Plenty of Sleep

Now this old wives' tale still holds true today. To maintain your health, you need to get plenty of rest, but you can’t really "catch up" on sleep or make up for weeks or months of too little sleep.

Getting enough sleep on a regular basis is key to maintaining good health. Studies show that lack of sleep can negatively impact health and weight. It can also impact immune system function.

Learn about the best foods that help you sleep, best sleep supplements and best sleep positions.

5. Enjoy Life

As we just wrote about — how stress and cortisol levels can affect the immune system — managing stress is also important for staying healthy.

One of the best ways to beat stress is to balance your life with fun. Remember the saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"? Well, no play will make Jack a miserable and dull boy.

Take time to enjoy life and build joy every day. Whether it’s taking time to listen to your favorite music or watching a film, or playing sports with your family or friends, it’s vital to include fun in your day — especially when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

6. Get Plenty of Vitamin D

More and more is being revealed lately about the vast health benefits of vitamin D. Previously known to impact bone health, vitamin D deficiency is now implicated in many health issues.

The best way to obtain vitamin D is through safe sun exposure. A lack of vitamin D (that many Westerners unknowingly have) can directly impact overall bodily health, including the immune system.

To remain healthy, make sure you get plenty of safe sun exposure on a regular basis. If you live somewhere that only gets sun seasonally, especially during the cold months, it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement until your levels are adequate enough to take you through these sunless seasons. Be sure to consult your healthcare professional to check your vitamin D levels.

7. Take a Whole Food Multivitamin

Taking a multivitamin is a great step towards supporting your overall health. But not all multivitamins are created equal. It’s vital that you choose a whole food multivitamin, not a synthetic one. Whole food multivitamins are as close to the real source of the vitamins and minerals that you can get.

In fact, your body will be better able to recognize it, digest it and absorb the nutrients in it. Some high-quality multivitamins will come with fermented (for optimal digestion) nutrients, which may make the nutrients easier to absorb.

At Ancient Nutrition, we offer several options of potent, highly-absorbable multivitamins intended to support the overall health of adult men and women, including a multivitamin for women over 40 and men over 40.

Also, formulated specifically for anyone seeking to support a healthy immune system, Ancient Multi Immune features 100% or more Daily Value of 14 essential vitamins and minerals.

Step 8. Avoid Sugar

Sugar is one of the worst things to consume, especially if you’re trying to stay healthy — and who isn’t? Sugars negatively impact the immune system and more. Avoiding sugars is key to staying healthy, particularly when you’re under stress.

There are great, all-natural sweeteners on the market so you don’t have to go without. Try stevia or raw honey in moderation. (And avoid artificial sweetenersthey're also fake foods!) Be sure to check labels of the foods you’re eating and avoid sugars here, too.

I think that everyone wants to stay healthy during the colder months and, actually, year-round. When you take the above eight steps to stay healthy, you’ll be supporting your body not only during this season but for a lifetime of wellness.

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