By Sara Kirckland

That dreaded time of the year is almost here – cold and flu season.  This means sicknesses brought on by cooler temperatures, back to school Petri dishes and a general abundance of germs.  You may be looking to enhance any immunizations or shots you receive with some good old fashioned natural immune system boosters.  Follow these guidelines for you and your family to enjoy a more comfortable fall.

Get plenty of sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is essential to keeping your immune system operating at peak efficiency.  When you don’t get enough sleep consistently, vital processes in your body begin to shut down.  Adequate sleep is essential to regulating your immune system and keeping it able to fight off external infections and germs.  Strive to stay well-rested with around eight hours of sleep each night.

Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. It’s no wonder that parents everywhere admonish their children to eat their fruits and vegetables.  Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients and vitamins that are critical to proper immune function.  Some foods that are believed to naturally boost your immune system are blueberries, foods with omega-3 fatty acids, broccoli and spinach.  This can also help you maintain a healthy weight which keeps your immune system functioning properly.  It‘s a win-win!  If you don’t like vegetables, a daily multivitamin added to your diet can make up for any vitamin deficiencies.

Practice good hygiene. Keeping your hands washed during cold and flu season is one of the most sure-fire ways to avoid getting sick.  People touch their eyes, nose and mouth a lot throughout the day, so washing your hands is essential to keeping germs away from those areas.  This also includes oral hygiene – brushing teeth, flossing and mouth washing are important to keeping germs out of your mouth and out of your body.

Exercise regularly. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise keeps your body and immune system functioning properly.  Exercise helps improve blood circulation and allows white blood cells to travel rapidly to fight infections.  Pursuing the healthiest lifestyle possible will help you avoid an uncomfortable cold season.

Simplicity is often best.  These basic rules to live a healthy lifestyle through good eating, adequate sleep, proper hygiene and exercise will provide benefits to fighting off infections.  Herbal supplements may help, but it’s important to understand there isn’t scientific evidence supporting such claims.  If you want to avoid the cold and flu season altogether, follow these tips to boost your immunity the natural way.

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