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Sniffle season is pretty much here. We know how to prevent the spread of germs— hopefully— but there are other steps we can take to prevent ourselves from getting sick. A strong immune system is key to ensuring that your body is fully equipped to handle any bacteria or virus life might throw at it, and be able to bounce back quickly. Here are 10 of our suggestions to boost your immune system so that you can stay happy and healthy this winter, in easy and holistic ways:

  1. Don’t smoke— This may seem like a “no-brainer”, but if you’re concerned about your immune system, ditch the smoking habit! When you smoke, your immune system is preoccupied with fighting off all the damage that it does to your body— and it becomes compromised to the point where it might not be able to fight off real sickness when it hits you. If you smoke, your wounds will also take longer to heal because your blood vessels, which provide that support to the area in need, become restricted by the nicotine.
  2. Get your sweat on! Regular exercise will help your body flush out the bad stuff and increase the flow of the good stuff‚ like white blood cells and oxygen.
  3. Tis the season to wash your hands frequently— especially after you’ve gone out holiday shopping. You might have noticed that the stores are more packed than usual? Just think about all those germs that are now also shopping with you.
  4. Get a good night’s sleep! Sleep gives your body a chance to recover and repair, and while you sleep, your body releases certain proteins that can help heal any inflammation or infection it may be fighting off. Your body works in your favor while you’re sleeping, so take advantage of that!
  5. Although you may have a lot to “cheers” about, drink in moderation— when you drink to excess, your sleep is compromised and your white blood cells might not be able to adequately fight off germs and sickness.
  6. Find effective ways to manage your stress. Chronic stress decreases your immune system strength— just another reason to take a breather every so often!
  7. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins.
  8. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need in order for all of your systems to function properly!
  9. Be social— you can’t build up your immunity if you don’t encounter germs. They don’t say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” for no reason… but then go wash your hands!
  10. Get a laugh in. We’re back to the laughter… But that’s because it does a great job decreasing stress-inducing cortisol and increases your infection-fighting white blood cell count.