That time of year is here – the kids go back to school, and the germs begin to take over. Whether you’re at home or on the road, most of you will be exposed to the common cold this fall, but I’m going to help you keep your immune system strong so that you’re less likely to catch it!

Your body is constantly working hard to stay healthy, but if we don’t support it in doing so, it’s eventually going to crash and get sick when exposed to illnesses. Implement a few (or all) of the following tips into your daily routine or as often as possible, as the best way to keep your immune system running well is through consistent, daily actions rather than sporadic efforts.

Top immune-boosting tips:

  • Sleep: Your cell phone can’t function without being charged, and neither can you! Sleep is when your body heals itself from everything it did and was exposed to during the day. Whatever amount of sleep you’re currently getting, aim for an extra 30-60 minutes this season. You may have to rearrange your evening or morning schedule a tad, but it will pay off.
  • Water: Your liver & other organs do a great job at filtering out waste & toxins, but if you’re not drinking enough water, those unwanted products have a harder time leaving the body! Start drinking 1-2 more glasses per day.
  • Fruits & veggies are loaded with antioxidants and virus-fighting compounds, can help to increase antibodies and white blood cells, and provide us with loads of vitamins & minerals! Fruits & veggies also help to keep your liver and other organs (responsible for filtering waste) strong and healthy so they can do their job.
  • Multivitamin: If your diet suffers when you’re on the road (or always), a multivitamin is a great way to ensure you’re filling some nutrient gaps. Head to a natural health store (most malls have one) and ask for a high quality multivitamin.
  • Vitamin C: Many people take vitamin C when they’re already sick in hopes of improving overnight, but it is much more effective to build your immune system over time with this potent vitamin.
  • Vitamin D: Another potent vitamin, this one helps with both immunity and mood management as we head into shorter days and gloomier weather.
  • Probiotics: Health starts in the gut, and our gut is made up of millions of bacteria that help us digest food, stay healthy, and much more. Many people have a depleted gut microbiome (ie. Not enough gut bacteria or not enough strains of bacteria) so introducing a high quality probiotic for about a week each month can be a great help for our immune systems.
  • Garlic, onions, ginger fall into the fruit and veggie category, but they deserve their own special mention as they all contain powerful antiviral compounds. Bonus: they’re super affordable! Add them (fresh) into as many meals as you can! If you can’t get them fresh, garlic and ginger capsules are a great way to supplement on the road.
  • Moderate exercise can have a positive effect on the immune system, but be sure not to overdo it as that can do the opposite. Aim for 150 minutes per week.
  • Fresh air has been found to help support the immune system, so take your workouts outside or even just sit outdoors for 5-10 minutes of deep breathing!

Finally, to minimize the strain you are putting on your body, do your best to reduce how often you consume these foods:

  • Processed foods
  • Sugar
  • Wheat (bread, muffins, bagels, pasta, cookies, etc)
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, even yogurt)
  • Alcohol