Staying healthy should be at the top of everyone’s priority list when the temperatures start to drop, but this year we’re hyper-aware of keeping our immune systems on point. Especially with the holidays just around the corner.
Some of the easiest ways to do that are also the most obvious — like getting plenty of sleep, managing your stress levels, keeping yourself hydrated, eating nutritious foods, and moving your body every day. And yeah, go ahead and add washing your hands, wearing a mask, and social distancing to that list.
But there are also a few natural tips and tricks to keep in your wellness arsenal this time of year that can give you an extra boost.
Eat Raw Garlic
While it might not sound like the most delicious of snacks, the allicin in crushed or chewed raw garlic has been shown to be an immune-boosting heavy-hitter. Try infusing it with raw honey to make the taste more palatable, or find recipes to add it into raw, like salad dressings.
Eat Local Honey
Eating a teaspoon of raw, local honey can be an immune booster and help you build an immunity to allergens in your area. It’s actually due to the bee pollen in the honey. Save the bees, people. They’re keeping your allergies at bay.
Try Herbal Teas and Infusions
There are a few immune-boosting herbal teas you can find at your local grocery store, but why not blend up your own mix of herbs known to keep you well?
Herbs like hibiscus, olive leaf, elderberry, rose hips, chamomile, lemongrass, and orange peel would be great for teas. You could also make herbal infusions (similar to a tea, but steeped for much longer with more plant material) with heavy-hitting herbs like nettle, astragalus, or comfrey.
Get Your Vitamins From Food
Make a point to eat foods with high amounts of naturally occurring vitamins. As Vitamin C is so immune-boosting, try to eat foods like Citrus fruit, potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts. Other immune-boosting vitamins include B6 (meat, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu and other soy products, and bananas) and E (some vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and nuts).
But Supplement When You Need To
It’s not always possible to get everything we need from foods, even if we’re eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. In those cases, try to get your daily intake through a good multivitamin.
Another thing that’s hard to get strictly from our foods is our daily recommended minerals. Iron, selenium, and zinc, for instance, are all important to support our immune functions.
Get Some Probiotics
It’s super trendy to talk about gut health right now, and there’s a reason. An unhealthy microbiome in our tummies can be an underlying cause for a whole mess of health problems. Keep things balanced by getting some probiotics in your system, with foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha.
Use a Neti Pot
Using a Neti Pots is a daily habit recommended by Ayurvedic medicine. It involves using a small teapot to pour a warm saline solution into one nostril and out the other. This irrigates the nasal passages and sinuses, and helps sweep bacteria, irritants, and viruses away from the respiratory tract.
Not gonna lie, this one’s not totally comfortable. You’re gonna straight up feel like you’re drowning the first couple of times you do it. But you get used to it, and it’s a lifesaver with colds and allergies. Just make sure to always use distilled water and wash your Neti Pot with soap and water after every use.
Use Common Sense
Keeping our immune systems healthy is so important — but even more so this year. And while these tips in no way replace common-sense measures like wearing a mask and washing your hands, every little bit helps, right? Now, stay safe out there, and happy (and healthy) holidays!