When the weather gets colder, you’re more likely to develop a case of the sniffles. But there are practices and supplements that you can take to defend your body against infection. We spoke with healthcare experts to get their opinions on what you should be doing to boost your immunity, treat sinus congestion, and maintain peace of mind this winter. Here, their top six suggestions.
1. Mindful Movement and Breath Work
It’s crucial to get plenty of gentle movement, says Serena Poon, a chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy method. “I approach immunity from a holistic perspective that encompasses the physical body, the mind, and the energetic bodies,” she says. Poon recommends moving every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block or a 10 minute yoga flow. This will help to release stagnant energy that can lead to disease. To calm your nervous system and decrease inflammation, which is linked to immunity, you can also use your breath. The throat restriction required to do Ujjayi Pranayama, or Victorious Breath, can engage the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system, says Laura Cipullo, a registered dietician and yoga teacher.
YJ recommends: This Yoga Sequence Will Reduce Stress and Boost Immunity
2. Stay Positive
Poon also recommends sending loving, supportive, and strengthening thoughts to your body and mind through meditation and positive affirmations, such as I am healthy, I am strong, I am supported.
YJ recommends: Stoke Your Spirit: 31 Daily Mantras + Affirmations
3. Eat Immunity-Boosting Foods
To boost your immune system, adds Poon, it’s important to stay hydrated and nourish your body with immune-boosting foods, such as citrus, garlic, supergreens, ginger, and blueberries.
YJ recommends: Super Greens Powder by BioSchwartz
One scoop of this powder provides three servings worth of green vegetables, and it’s packed with over 45 superfoods and 46 plant nutrients. Pour it into water or drink it in a smoothie that incorporates fruits that are rich in vitamins and minerals like blueberries and raspberries. Plus, it has blends of prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes—all of which can boost your immunity.
Supplement an immunity-boosting diet with probiotics, prebiotics, minerals, herbs, and vitamins, including vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc picolinate, and astragalus, adds Poon.
YJ recommends: Wellness Formula Capsules by Source Naturals
Each capsule contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, garlic bulb, echinacea, elderberry, propolis, and more—all from a natural blend of herbs—so you’re getting a convenient source of immunity-boosting properties. Plus, the capsules contain eleutherococcus and astragalus which are adaptogens that can decrease your stress response, helping you dive deeper into mindful breathing and movement.
5. Fight Inflammation
During vulnerable times, it may also be good to avoid inflammatory foods such as dairy, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol, says Poon. To decrease inflammation, Cipullo recommends a diverse approach: “Boost your immune system by decreasing inflammation through your diet and of course, mindful breathing and movement. Choose anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon, cruciferous vegetables and focus on including fats from plants.”
These capsules contain 95 percent curcuminoids, making it a natural antioxidant and it can help balance inflammation in your body, relieving discomfort and enhancing your body’s immune response. Turmeric is known as the Golden Spice in Ayurveda and has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years.
6. Clear Your Sinuses
Many nasal sprays designed to help you fight congestion can dry out your nasal passages, which can create more nasal congestion over time, says Jennika Wildau, an acupuncturist and the owner of BodyHaus Acupuncture & Bodywork in Boulder, Colorado. Her suggestion: “Xlear is the only product I’ve found that decongests the sinuses without drying them out,” she says. “I have also found that patients who suffer from chronic sinus problems can reduce the frequency of acute flare-ups by using Xlear to clear buildup in the sinus passages when they are not actively symptomatic.”
YJ Recommends: Xlear Sinus Care Spray
Xlear is a natural saline spray that uses xylitol—an ingredient which cleanses and moisturizes. The makers of Xlear also promote it as a way to maintain sinus health, preventing bacteria and other pollutants, including allergens, from sticking to nasal tissues. Xlear is non-GMO and is clear of steroids.
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