Cold and flu season is right around the corner – Here is what you can do to help support your immune system!

Cold and flu season is right around the corner – Here is what you can do to help support your immune system!

Cold and flu season is right around the corner, and this year in particular I am trying to listen to my body and give it rest and self-care when it needs it, even if it means that some housework gets delayed for a short time. Here are some things to be mindful of to support your wellness and your immune system.

Be mindful of what your body needs. Most of the time, we tend to push through any feelings of stress and fatigue until we accomplish what we have on our to do list. But when our body gets run down, overworked, or overstressed, our immune system weakens. Stress hormones and lack of sleep suppress our immune system, causing it to be less efficient at fighting off illness. Here are some things you can do to:

Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you have a hard time to fall asleep try shutting screens off 30-60 minutes before going to bed, changing to soft lighting, reading, or drinking something warm like herbal tea or hot water and lemon.
Set reminders throughout your day to check in with yourself and see if your body needs a break from your computer, to go to the bathroom, a snack, or a glass of water.
Schedule down time in your week to do something that brings you joy. Practice a hobby, call a friend or loved one, book a massage, or spend time outside.
If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious throughout the day, breathing exercises can help. In a short telehealth session with our physiotherapist Jill, they can guide you through some quick breathing exercises you can do to calm your mind.

Support your immune system with food. We have been told since we were kids that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables because they contain vitamins and minerals, but what do they do? We have billions of chemical reactions happening in our bodies and vitamins and minerals are co-factors in these reactions, making sure that everything happens in sequence and efficiently. You also find important vitamins and minerals in other foods like whole grains and protein foods. Getting your vitamins and minerals from food are better absorbed by the body than they are from supplements. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you are getting enough:

Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and at supper. They can be raw, roasted, stir-fried, in a salad, with or without a dressing or dip. And by including a variety of colors, including orange and green, you will get enough vitamin A and E, two powerful antioxidants that strengthen your immune system among other things.
Include some fruit with your breakfast, and at your snacks. This will provide you with more than enough vitamin C each day.

If you are struggling to make nourishing choices, need help meal planning or wondering if you should be taking a supplement, book a consultation with me, Gabby, your Registered Dietitian. I can assess your needs and help you find a routine that fits your lifestyle.