Its common knowledge that as fall weather sets in so does the cold and flu season. There are a billion different search results on the internet for ways to fight off cold and flu viruses, but the best advice I can give is to take steps now to avoid getting sick in the first place.

Here are my top tips for boosting that immune system and kicking the germs to the curb:

  1. Practice standard hygiene – The best way to prevent the spread of cold virus is to practice proper hand washing. As a rule you should be washing your hands with soap and water before/after making food, using the restroom, blowing your nose/coughing/sneezing, handling trash or animal waste, and most importantly after taking care of someone who is sick.
  2. Nutrition – Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables provides immune boosting benefits. Vitamins and minerals like Zinc, Iron, and vitamin C are essential in maintaining a strong system. Focus on eating fruits high in antioxidants like blueberries, vegetables high in vitamins like broccoli (contains more vitamin C than an orange!), and even using garlic which contains allicin and antioxidants. Avoid alcohol and processed sugars as they suppress your body’s natural immune system.
  3. Sleep – It’s no secret that your body repairs itself during your sleeping hours. Make sure you’re getting a good 8 hours each night to boost your mood, recovery, immune system, and your overall health
  4. Exercise – Daily exercise can increasing your circulation and allow antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, relieving stress by slowing the release of stress hormones, and strengthens your muscles like your heart and lungs which can in turn flush the system.
  5. Gut Health – The majority of your immune system rests within your GI tract. It’s important to keep a good balance of healthy bacteria in our gut to maintain a balance in our immune system. Eating healthy bacteria found in yogurt or taking a good multi-strain probiotic can be beneficial.

Practicing these simple tips of eating whole foods, sleeping and exercising more, stressing less and maintaining practical hygiene will help set you up for a cold and flu free winter!