by Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.
ASEA Science Council Member

Ah, fall: the changing leaves, the pumpkin spice everything, the cozy sweaters, and of course, the sick days! As beautiful as this time of year is, it’s also the beginning of cold and flu season. But don’t start slathering on the hand sanitizer just yet—there are plenty of ways to boost your immune system so you can embrace fall without falling ill.

In my wellness practice, I cover everything from food choices and sleep to exercise and supplements. All of these are necessary to keep your immune system strong. From my years of helping clients, I have put together my top five tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season:

  1. Nourish your gut. Over 70% of your immune system is located right in your gut. Keep it healthy by eating high-fiber fruits and vegetables and ingesting fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Supplement daily with a probiotic to provide your gut with healthy bacteria to keep your immune system ready for battle.
  2. Sleep and your immune system have a direct relationship. Sleep deprivation suppresses your immune system. Aim for eight hours every night, and set yourself up for a successful night’s sleep by limiting your screen time before bed, keeping the room below 70 degrees, and using essential oils like lavender to help set the stage. Magnesium is a great sleep support mineral; take it an hour before bedtime.
  3. Staying sufficiently hydrated helps your body eliminate waste and toxins, thereby supporting your immune system functions. Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, and that’s where poor food choices come in. Sip water, caffeine-free tea, or seltzer to give your body what it needs.
  4. Get moving. Regardless of the weather, it’s still important to get your body moving. Whether it’s going to the gym, out for a walk, or even apple picking, movement and exercise help to reduce your chances of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
  5. Supplement wisely. Eating a broad and colorful variety of foods is one way to meet almost all of your vitamin needs, but some nutrients are still hard to get. That’s why I always recommend a daily probiotic, a vitamin D supplement, and ASEA Redox Supplement to reduce oxidative stress and boost antioxidant capabilities—all necessary to support your immune system.

These five tips are pretty simple when you break them down, and they can have a significant impact on your health, regardless of the season. As for fall, my favorite thing to do is to go apple picking with my kids. It’s a great way to connect them to one of the healthy foods I love while enjoying where it comes from! Not to mention, fresh apples are pretty delicious!

What are ways that you like to protect yourself from flu season?