Winter is coming.
But while we’re caught up in the excitement of pumpkin spice lattes and admiring the beautiful colors of the fall, cold and flu season is slowly creeping up on us, too.
While no magic pill can guarantee you won't get sick this winter – even the flu vaccination is "only" between 40% and 60% effective – there's lots you can do to give yourself a better chance of avoiding seasonal illnesses. And even if you do get sick, everything you did to prevent it may help you to be ill for a shorter time, minimizing disruption to your life.
Let's delve into five immune-boosting supplements and discover which vitamins are best for your immune system—as well as other essential lifestyle factors to consider!
Take These Immune Boosting Vitamins and Supplements for Cold and Flu Prevention!
Vitamin C is often cited as the most crucial vitamin we need – think about how often you see lists of where to get vitamin C – and is sometimes also known as the immunity vitamin. And with good reason!
Vitamin C has been a popular choice in cold prevention for decades. This vitamin is an antioxidant that helps our bodies form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in our bones. While it's a great all-round boost for your body and immune system, it won't necessarily prevent you from specifically catching a cold or flu outright. However, someevidence shows that it can reduce the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms.
Take your daily dose of vitamin C and ensure your body has everything it needs to prevent and fight off colds and flu effectively this winter!
Vitamin D is often known as the sunshine vitamin, owing to how we produce it in response to sunlight. And as cold and flu season occurs during the winter, guess what vitamin levels in our bodies naturally drop when there's less sunlight?
You guessed it!
As well as keeping our bones healthy, vitamin D is vital to our immune systems, and individuals with vitamin D deficiency are often more susceptible to infections.
Consider taking a vitamin D supplement this winter to help keep colds and flu at bay.
Zinc is another crucial vitamin for your immune system, supporting immune cell development and even how they communicate with each other when it's time to get to work. Zinc is also vital for optimizing your body's inflammatory response.
As well as supporting your immune system,studies have shown that zinc can help reduce the duration of a cold, particularly if you start taking it as soon as symptoms start.
Go one better and make zinc part of your regular vitamin and supplements routine.
Prevention is always better than cure!
Echinacea has been used in various forms as a herbal remedy for centuries.
While there is no conclusive scientific evidence behind the effectiveness of echinacea in preventing or reducing the severity of colds and flu, some people have found it helpful and recommend it.
As such, it may be worth trying echinacea to see if it helps prevent you from getting sick or reduces the severity of your symptoms if you do.
Aside from being a vital ingredient in some delicious recipes, garlic is often associated with maintaining cardiovascular health and other benefits related to healthy aging.
Similarly to echinacea, there is currently limited evidence as to the effectiveness of garlic in specifically preventing or helping to fight colds and flu. However, allicin, one of the main active compounds found in garlic, has been shown to protect against infections in general and boost white blood cell response if you get sick.
Lifestyle Factors Can Have a Major Impact On Cold & Flu Prevention
As we mentioned earlier, there is no magic pill for cold and flu prevention! But if you introduce these immune-boosting vitamins supplements into your diet, you should also continue following healthy lifestyle principles.
We all know that adequate hydration is essential for our overall health. In the context of fighting colds and flu, water aids the production of lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune cells around our bodies.
So if you're taking extra immune-boosting vitamins but not drinking enough water, they won't get to where they need to go!
Regular physical activity can significantly boost your immune system by promoting good circulation, which allows immune cells and other disease-fighting molecules to move through the body more effectively.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep allows our body to repair and regenerate. In contrast, chronic sleep deprivation can weaken our immune systems, leaving us more susceptible to colds and flu.
While guidance on sleep continues to move towards "get the amount of sleep that works for you," you should aim for at least seven hours a night to enjoy optimal health.
Cold & Flu Prevention is Better than a Cure, But We Can Help You Get Better, Too!
There’s no surefire way to prevent colds and flu, but powering up your immune system with the right vitamins and supplements and being as healthy as possible will give you every chance of avoiding illness this winter. And, if you do get sick, you'll probably suffer less severe symptoms and a shorter illness if you've done everything you can beforehand.
Plus, you can alsocheck out our recent article on improving cold and flu symptoms if you’re already sick.
Remember you can get all of your vitamins here at The Online Drugstore, and be sure to speak to your doctor or another medical professional before introducing any new vitamins to your regimen, especially if you’re taking prescribed medication.
Here’s to a healthy and happy winter!