Fall should be spent taking crisp hikes, drinking warm cider, and watching the falling leaves – not constantly blowing your nose or nursing a sore throat. To help ease your transition into this more vulnerable time of year, we’re sharing 7 simple ways to boost your immune health so you can thrive through fall and winter.
7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune Health in Fall
#1 - Catch more Zzz’s
Sleep is essential for good health any time of year, but you might feel the need to sleep more in autumn. Listen to your body. As your body adjusts to the environmental changes in fall, it’s normal to feel a little more tired or want to get an extra hour of sleep.
In fall, good quality sleep gives your body plenty of time to eliminate invading germs, repair tissues, regenerate immune cells, and replenish energy stores to use during the day. If you do get sick this fall or winter, sleep will help your body mount a stronger immune response so you can recover more quickly.
Having trouble sleeping? Consider putting away your phone, computer, TV, or any other devices at least one hour before bed. Blue light emitted from our screens can disrupt our already vulnerable sleep-wake cycle in fall and leave you feeling awake and stimulated when you should be drifting off to dreamland. Instead of scrolling, wind down with a good book, an evening stretch, or these simple tips for better sleep.
#2 - Get active
Exercise isn’t just good for building strong muscles – it can also help you build a strong immune system.
Regular exercise helps boost immunity in several different ways. For instance, it helps flush bacteria from the lungs and respiratory tract. It also increases your body’s white blood cells so you have a stronger “army” to identify and fight pathogens. Plus, exercise helps reduce excess stress (which can damage your immunity).
But before you take on any and every type of exercise this fall, be sure to strive for balance. Just as not enough exercise can weaken your immune system, too much exercise can deplete your energy and leave you vulnerable.
So, what types of exercise should you do in fall? A balance of cardio, weight training, and restorative exercises helps you reap the benefits of exercise while maintaining a healthy balance.
#3 - Make soups, stews, and curries
Put away the raw salads and frozen smoothies – it’s officially soup season. One of the most delicious things you can do to protect your immune system in fall is eat with the season. In fall, our bodies crave more nourishing, warming foods. Soups, stews, and curries are a great way to feed your belly and fuel your immunity. Need inspiration? Try my Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup or Savory Bean Chili this week!
#4 - Cook with antioxidant herbs and spices
While you’re busy in the kitchen preparing delicious warming and immune-boosting meals, why not add some immune superfoods with lots of flavor? Herbs and spices are well-known for being packed with antioxidants and healing compounds. Enhance your recipes with these immune-boosting herbs and spices for fall:
Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory cooking ingredients, due to its high levels of curcumin. Curcumin modulates the NF-kB pathway to relieve issues related to long-standing inflammation like weak immunity, chronic pain, and chronic disease. Turmeric is easy to add to a wide range of recipes. Or, get a healthy daily dose with Dr. Danielle’s Turmeric Curcumin.
Ginger isn’t just for upset stomachs. This ingredient has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help stimulate the immune response. In fall, this is particularly helpful for clearing respiratory conditions (like seasonal coughs and colds) and reducing digestive inflammation for a strong gut-immune axis.
Garlic is delicious, but did you know it can help boost your immunity, too? Garlic is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb with high levels of vitamin C. It has been shown to reduce cold symptoms as well as reduce the length and severity of a respiratory infection.
While fresh herbs add tons of flavor to your meals, they pack in just as much power with antiviral and antibacterial health benefits. Try herbs like rosemary, thyme, and cilantro for a rich source of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that support the immune system.
#5 -Try dry brushing
You brush your hair and brush your teeth, why not brush your skin? Dry brushing is a simple self-care technique that has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine. The practice involves gliding a coarse yet gentle brush along your skin to stimulate circulation and exfoliation.
When it comes to immune health, dry brushing helps by stimulating the lymphatic system and encouraging the body to rid itself of toxins. Those who dry brush regularly also find that it gives them a boost of energy – a welcome benefit as the days get colder and darker!
#6 - Clear the air with aromatherapy
Respiratory health is incredibly important in autumn when cold and flu season is at its peak. You can take preventative action by infusing your air with antimicrobial aromatherapy.
Many essential oils are known for their antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Use an essential oil diffuser to infuse your home or office with immune-boosting oil like lemon, rosemary, tea tree, and clove. Some (like eucalyptus oil) even act as expectorants, helping you clear excess mucus, debris, and bacteria from the lungs.
Beyond protecting your lungs, there are many other ways to use aromatherapy to boost your immunity.
- Use peppermint or bergamot oil to calm the mind and reduce the stress hormones that weaken immunity.
- Use lavender oil to improve sleep so your immune system can regenerate.
- Use thieves' oil in DIY cleaning products to combat germs on surfaces.
#7 - Simplify your supplements
There are tons of different plants, herbs, vitamins, and other natural products that claim to boost immunity. Trying to figure out which vitamins and supplements are right for you to take in fall can be overwhelming. And the last thing you need right before holiday season is more stress!
Dr. Danielle has done the hard work for you! She did the research and gathered the best immune-boosting whole foods to create a harmonious supplement blend. Her Vitamin C + Elderberry Immune Assist contains vitamin C, elderberry, zinc, and vitamin D, giving you everything you need to strengthen your immune system in one daily supplement. Get yours here!
Bonus Tip: Be Gentle with Yourself
The transition into fall can be challenging for many people. With colder weather and the holiday season approaching, it’s easy to fall into less-than-healthy habits and a moody slump. And as much as we may try, avoiding colds and the flu isn’t always possible.
If you do get sick, don’t blame yourself. Be gentle, and use this as an opportunity to get extra rest and support your body with the nutrients it needs to recover and thrive in the next season and beyond.