The days are still pleasantly light and warm. But slowly but surely it is getting cold and wet. Viruses and bacteria are active all year round, but our immune system has a hard time fighting, especially in the cold months. Dry heating air and temperature fluctuations make us more susceptible to diseases, e.g. the blood flow to the nose and throat area is restricted and more susceptible. Since we spend more time in closed rooms due to the temperatures and thus come into contact with more people, it is easy to get infected.
According to GfK, colds such as runny nose, coughs and sore throats make up the most common health complaints in Germany at almost 50% percent. And Germany is in first place in the ranking of over-the-counter drugs with around 1.5 billion euros
Strengthen your immune system in good time
If you want to support your immune system, you should start doing it in good time. The best time was yesterday. The second best is today.
Because if our body is not sufficiently supplied with nutrients, it is easier for pathogens. People whose immune system cannot work optimally have three or more infections per year and also need longer until they are healthy again.
But a hot lemon is not enough if you want to strengthen your body’s defenses. I have a few good tips on how you can naturally strengthen your immune system.
10 tips on how to strengthen your immune system
1. Diet: Eat enough fruit, vegetables and protein!
A healthy and balanced diet has a major impact on our well-being and the performance of the body. The immune system also benefits from this. With a good supply of nutrients, you help your body to successfully defend itself against pathogens.
With certain vitamins and minerals you can specifically support your defense:
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the best known vitamin when it comes to strengthening the immune system. Helps during and after intense physical exertion. To be eaten daily.
For a normal function of the immune system in winter, you should take in addition to the recommended daily dose of 100-200 mg vitamin C, plus up to 200 mg.
Good vitamin C suppliers include citrus fruits (the hot lemon, that is), but also vegetables such as broccoli, kale or Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C works best when you eat the food fresh and do not store it for long. Tip: Eat a kiwi again.
You are probably more familiar with vitamin D when it comes to bone health. But it turns out that vitamin D is also extremely important for the immune system, but only if it is available in sufficient quantities. But as you may know, vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all. Our body produces vitamin D through regular sun exposure on our skin. However, this self-production is not sufficient in our latitudes in winter, especially not when the immune system is particularly challenged.
Vitamin D is only sufficiently available in a few foods. Good sources are fatty sea fish, veal, eggs, but also mushrooms and avocados.
Vitamin A cares for the mucous membranes in the nose and throat. Good sources: carrots, dried apricots.
Vitamin B6 stimulates the formation of immune messenger substances. Good sources: salmon, walnuts.
Vitamin E promotes the maturation of immune cells. Good sources: wheat germ oil, egg yolk.
Zinc controls the function of more than 200 enzymes and is involved in many metabolic processes and is absolutely vital for us. A good defense function of our body is also dependent on the zinc balance.
We recommend consuming at least 10 mg of zinc daily with food. With increased physical strain, pregnancy or stress, it can also be more.
Good sources of zinc are, for example, oysters, the most zinc-rich food. But sea fish, seafood, dairy products and beef also contain zinc.
Selenium. Like zinc, selenium also contributes to the protection of cell components from oxidative stress and to the normal function of the immune system.
Good sources of selenium are meat, fish, chicken eggs, as well as lentils and asparagus.
Of course, a balanced and varied diet is extremely important to protect yourself from the next cold. But there are other things you can do to naturally strengthen your immune system
2. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly!
Viruses are often transmitted by shaking hands and coming into contact with door handles, shopping carts, etc. Try to put your hands in your face as little as possible. Wash your hands several times a day with warm water and soap.
3. Drink enough water and / or unsweetened herbal tea!
In order to prevent your mucous membranes in the nose and throat from drying out due to dry heated air, you should definitely drink at least 2 liters of water or unsweetened tea every day.
4. Air regularly!
The exchange of air in your rooms is important. So often open windows and doors for a few minutes – ventilate the room to exchange fresh, oxygen-rich air for old, virus-contaminated air.
5. Go to the sauna and / or take alternating showers!
The alternation of cold and warm stimulates blood circulation and trains the body for temperature changes. But be careful: if you have a cold, please do not go to the sauna, as the temperature fluctuations will then put additional strain on you.
6. Exercise regularly in the fresh air!
This is not news: exercise gets the circulation going. But sport also keeps the mucous membranes moist. Running for half an hour two to three times a week or walking faster is enough. Caution: Make sure you wear suitable clothing so that you do not get cold. If there are any signs of a cold, please do not do strenuous exercise!
6. Sleep enough!
Believe it or not, the body’s defenses are strongly related to the quality and length of your sleep. During sleep, the body produces new antibodies and thus strengthens the immune system. Good sleep is the perfect regeneration phase. Try to sleep 8 hours a night.
7. Keep your bowels fit!
About 80% of immune cells are in the gut. A healthy intestinal flora is therefore particularly important for a functioning immune system.
8. No alcohol and no nicotine!
That should also apply in general, but here in particular: Alcohol and nicotine are responsible for weakening the immune system. Intoxication means that the immune system is deactivated for at least 24 hours. Nicotine restricts the function of white blood cells, making it easier for pathogens.
9. Avoid crowds!
The risk of getting infected increases with every person around you. Viruses are spread by droplet infection, especially when coughing and sneezing. Sure, you can’t really protect yourself in your private or work life, but the contact doesn’t have to be too close. If possible, give fewer hands and hugs.
10. On the other hand: smooching strengthens the immune system!
Scientists have found that kissing strengthens our immune system. On the one hand, the brain is flooded with happiness messengers when we kiss, on the other hand we exchange around 4000 germs with the partner via the saliva.
Enjoy the rest of the day in the sunny weather and warmth and recharge your batteries. Find enough moments during the cold months where you can heed my tips. I am curious whether you can get through the winter better and look forward to your experiences and experiences!