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4 Ways To Support Your Immune Strength As We Head Into Winter

Abby Moore
Author: Expert reviewer:
December 18, 2021
Abby Moore
mbg Nutrition & Health Writer
By Abby Moore
mbg Nutrition & Health Writer
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Expert review by
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
mbg Vice President of Scientific Affairs
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
Image by Tommaso Tuzj / Stocksy
December 18, 2021

There are so many lovely things to enjoy about winter: cozy weather, tasty food, holidays galore, time with family and friends—the list goes on. However, in order to stay in tiptop shape for all of the upcoming festivities, it's important to maintain a strong immune system (as we all know, seasonal changes can sometimes get in the way of that). Not to mention, it seems supporting immunity is even more crucial than ever at the moment.

So, as we close out the year in the healthiest way possible, keep these tried-and-true tricks in mind:

1.

Eat a nutritious diet. 

Eating a diverse diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is essential for overall health—and there are specific nutrients that play a role in supporting the immune system1

For example, integrative family physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., suggests trying to "get lots of vitamin-C-rich foods, like bell peppers, oranges, carrots." Additionally, "pumpkin seeds and oysters are rich in zinc and great to support your immune system," she says. (Here: 23 immune-supporting foods and drinks to add to your repertoire.)

2.

Take a targeted immune-support supplement.

If you're not getting those recommended nutrients through diet alone (which can be challenging to do), Gandhi recommends adding a vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or zinc supplement to your routine.* 

Along with those two nutrients, mbg director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, says to consider two particular plant bioactives, quercetin phytosome and yeast-derived beta-glucans.* Ferira explains that quercetin supplementation has been shown to strengthen immune resilience2, while beta-glucans act as antioxidants and immunomodulators that prime our immune system for what's ahead.* 

To deliver all of these nutrients (plus vitamin D3) and bioactives in one supplement, mindbodygreen created immune support+, which can help support a healthy and resilient immune system.* 

3.

Move your body (outside if possible).

"Managing stress is always the key when talking about supporting your immune system," Gandhi says. "Make sure you have carved out time weekly for self-care and to do things that nourish your soul!" Incorporating regular movement and exercise into your routine is critical for supporting mental health, and that includes mitigating stress. Plus, it supports gut health and promotes better sleep3—both of which are crucial for immune health. (For some routine inspiration, check out our mbg moves series.)

Bonus points if you get your body moving outside. Heading to the outdoors increases your endogenous vitamin D levels, in addition to managing stress, among other benefits.

4.

Get good-quality sleep. 

While it's important to be proactive about your immune resilience all year long, during seasonal changes "you really want to stick to healthy habits, like adequately sleeping," says functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D.

Not only does sleep help manage cortisol production (aka the stress hormone), says Gandhi, but it also allows the immune system to rest, repair, and produce helper T-cells4

Bottom line.

As we enter the winter season, with the holidays in full swing, it's important to keep our immune systems as strong as possible. The four tips above are a good place to start!

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