With cold and flu season in full swing, here are five strategies to help boost your immune system from our friend and Dietitian Zannat Reza:

  1. Get enough sleep: between 6 to 8 hours should do the trick; lack of sleep puts the body under stress. Try unplugging any distracting electronics at least 30 minutes before you head into bed.
  2. Manage stress: stress impairs the immune system; try yoga, meditation, being active to deal with the day-to-day annoyances of life. If you work in an office make sure to get away from the computer screen every once in a while and get some fresh air to help distress.
  3. Be active, preferably in nature: bundle up and go for a walk in a park, go tobogganing, skating or skiing; build a snowman, being in nature has immune-boosting properties.
  4. Wash your hands: use warm, soapy water for 20 seconds (helpful hint: hum Happy Birthday twice).
  5. Eat good food: follow the 80-20 rule; load up on wholesome food 80 per cent of the time (e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins).

You can also boost your immune system by making sure you take in these important nutrients:

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is found foods like sweet potato, pumpkin and carrots. Try this delicious Chickpea Sweet Potato Stew with Barley!

Vitamin C: You can find vitamin C in sweet peppers, broccoli and of course oranges! Boost your immune system and vitamin C intake with this orange berry smoothie!

Vitamin B6: This vitamin is found in dark leafy greens, papayas and cantaloupe. Give your body its dose of B6 by adding spinach, kale and brussels sprouts to your salads.

Vitamin E: Not only are avocados absolutely delicious but they’ve got vitamin E. Start your day off with a yummy intake of vitamin E in this avocado breakfast bruschetta.

Stay healthy this season by making sure you eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies to make sure that you get all the vitamins needed to boost your immune system. Filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal is an easy way to make sure you’re hitting your mark!

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