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Staying Green While Protecting Your Immune System This Winter

It is believed that a person’s natural immune response can weaken during the winter because of the cold temperatures. No matter how much hot cocoa you drink to warm up, your immune system might not be in top shape, making it harder to fight off common illnesses. While you can’t catch a cold from the cold, your body can certainly be more susceptible to one this time of year.

So, it’s normal for people to take extra precautions during the cold winter months. Protecting and boosting your immune system is a great way to stay healthy. But, if you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you don’t have to protect your immune system at the expense of being eco-friendly.

With that in mind, let’s cover some practical ways you can keep your immune system strong this season while maintaining a green lifestyle.

Be Deliberate With Your Diet

Winter is a time to enjoy some warm, hearty comfort food. But, foods high in fat and sugar or foods with a lot of preservatives can actually weaken your immune system. Plus, while pre-packaged soups and casseroles might seem significant for cosy weeknight meals, the packaging can contribute to the growing food waste problem our country is facing. If you don’t want to cook, getting take-out or delivery can worsen the environment. Not only does it create more waste, but each delivered order also creates more carbon emissions.

The solution? Cook more food at home using fresh ingredients. Soups, stews, pasta dishes, and casseroles can all work as immune boosters when you use ingredients like:

  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Ginger
  • Mushrooms

If you want to keep things green with your cooking, shop locally. Some farmers’ markets are still open in the winter. If not, check your grocery store for a “local produce” section. Or, consider growing your food. If you live in a colder climate, you can grow herbs indoors all winter long and plant vegetables outside in the spring to can and store for the following year.

Move, Sleep, Repeat

Winter can sometimes throw off your sleep cycle, especially if you live in an area that gets dark earlier in the day. Your natural circadian rhythms might make you want to go to bed earlier, and if you don’t, you could get tired during the day, not get enough restful sleep at night, and weaken your immunity in the process.

Unfortunately, that lack of sleep combined with darker, shorter days can contribute to extra stress and depression. Sleep is always important, but getting enough for your mental health is crucial in the winter.

Ironically enough, strengthening your immune system can improve your sleep. One of the best ways to keep your body (and mind) healthy while improving your sleep quality is to exercise. Engaging in just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day can help you fall asleep faster. Plus, it’s a clean, green way to improve your sleep without having to rely on medication or aromatherapy diffusers that could be harmful to the environment. 

If you live in a chilly environment, use everyday chores and errands to get in your aerobic workout. Things like cleaning your house can get your heart rate up, and you’ll stay warm doing it. As a bonus, you can use chemical-free cleaning products like vinegar to feel good about moving your body and keeping things sparkling.

Taking care of yourself this winter should be a top priority. But, you don’t have to compromise on your efforts to be eco-friendly. Use these tips to stay green while protecting your immune system, and you can enjoy a clean bill of health and a cleaner planet. 

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