Source: Eat Pretty Every Day by Jolene Hart

As we tend to stay inside throughout the cold months, your body is not receiving as much light or fresh air, and you may be more susceptible to colds, dryness, or inflammation. Each winter, you may find it helpful to evaluate your routine and determine how you can boost your immune system through nutrition and self-care, using ingredients you may already have at home. Here are some natural remedies to give your body’s natural defense some help:

Support your gut.

A healthy gut supports immunity! Start at the source and seek out probiotic-rich ingredients that will help promote healthy gut bacteria, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, brined pickles, miso, tempeh, kombucha and kefir. Aim to have one serving of these daily to support your gut, and therefore your immunity.

Tap into the benefits of aromatics.

We at UFH strongly believe that food is medicine. Open your pantry or spice cabinet and you are sure to find hidden immune system-supporting benefits. Garlic, turmeric, and citrus have anti-inflammatory characteristics, while cinnamon helps defend the mitochondria and has antioxidant effects. Brazil nuts contain immune-supporting minerals, and finally, one of the most nutritious superfoods you may have in your kitchen: mushrooms.

“Mushrooms have been shown to be antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and healing to those with compromised immunity” – Jolene Hart, Eat Pretty Every Day.

If you are not a fan of cooking with or eating fresh mushrooms, try sneaking them into your smoothies or hot beverages in the form of mushroom powder. You may be surprised by how many benefits these fungi contain, aside from their immune support.

Boost your immunity through self-care.

“Sleep is free anti-aging, and it’s also a free immune boost. One recent study found that participants who slept less than six hours were more than four times more likely to catch a cold virus than those who slept seven hours or more” – Jolene Hart, Eat Pretty Every Day.

Use winter as a time for rest and relaxation and listen to your body when it needs some extra sleep in the morning. Consider some of the tips found on the UFH blog to improve your quality of sleep, such as limiting screens and electronics, adapting a nighttime ritual, and avoiding caffeine throughout the day.

Another form of self-care that aids the immune system is taking baths. The warm water not only has soothing effects, but also improves circulation in the body, which gives your immunity a boost. Try adding a bath into your personal bedtime routine this winter to experience some extra benefits before sleep.