I’ve noticed a lot of co-workers and friends getting sick lately, and now that we’re really getting in to cold and flu season, many people have been asking for tips on how to keep from catching a cold or the flu. Here are some tips on how to boost your immune system and decrease the likelihood of an infection, as well as decrease the severity and length of the symptoms if you do get sick. 

  1. Get Enough Sleep
    Sleep is incredibly important for repair and maintenance of nearly all your body systems. Hormones, neurotransmitters, immune cells, and digestive processes all depend on sleep for normal functioning. After sundown and while you sleep, melatonin production increases as part of humans’ natural circadian rhythms. This in turn increases immune cytokine function which decreases the risk of infection. This is why the likelihood of you getting sick is so much higher after a few nights of poor sleep. A study from the University of California demonstrated that even minor sleep loss weakens the immune system response to disease.Get at least 8-9 hours a night.

  2. Avoid Toxic Foods
    Food toxins generate an immune response that compromises our ability to fight back against viruses and bacteria. Also, infections feed off of sugar, so decreasing the intake of high-sugar foods will help prevent them from taking over. The top things to avoid:
    – Sugar 

    – Wheat
    – Soy
    – Industrial Seed Oils

  3.  Eat Fermented Foods
    Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, beneficial bacteria that form the first line of defense against infections in our gut and respiratory system. Things like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir are rich in probiotics and are highly beneficial for the gut. Keeping your gut healthy is of the utmost importance, over 70% of your immune system is in the gut.

  4. Targeted supplementation

    – Vitamin D:
    Since beginning supplementing Vitamin D over 2 years ago, I haven’t got any serious infections, and many clients report the same. A 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a 64% decrease in influenza A infections in children that began supplementing with Vitamin D.

    Vitamin C: Can also be useful in fighting off colds, take 1 gram every 4 hours when you feel the onset of symptoms.

    – Iodine:  
    Another immune boosting nutrient, start at a low dose (400 mcg) and work up to a mg dosage.

  5. Wash Your Hands Frequently
    This is a pretty obvious but studies show that this is one of the most important factors in preventing sickness. Wash your hands whenever you arrive somewhere around or when you get home. Don’t use antibacterial soap though- these lead to resistant bacteria in the environment.