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Boosting Your Immune System

December 6, 2013, 6:22 PM by Brittany Larson

Boosting Your Immune System
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Flu and cold season often begins when cold weather appears.

While this time of year can be difficult to avoid getting sick, it's not actually the cold weather that causes a cold.  It's a virus, which is why health experts say boosting your immune system and staying healthy is all about doing the basics.

It's not always easy trying to dodge a cold while trying to stay warm in the face of bitterly cold temperatures.

"I'd rather be in Arizona right now," Ardis Halvorsen said.

The cold snap is a rude reminder that winter is here and the freezing temps can actually increase your chances of getting sick.

"There is some basis behind just breathing in cold air as far as it reduces the temperature in your nasal and sinus cavities, which can reduce the ability to fight off infection," Dr. Brian Kidman said.

"I have a three-year-old who goes to day care, so I tend to get every cough and runny nose that he gets," Adam Whitelock said.

Luckily for Ardis Halvorsen, she's been able to stay healthy by sticking with the basics.

"Twice a year, I get a cold but I haven't this year. I recommend the flu shot for everybody, drink at least eight glasses of water and try and get 30 minutes of exercise every other day and just get plenty of sleep," Halvorsen said.

Health experts agree.

"Physically, a person needs to get plenty of sleep.  Eight hours of sleep would be ideal," Kidman said.

Getting enough sleep is just one way to boost your immune system this time of year. Eating healthier is another, though that can be a challenge this time of year.

"Make sure the diet is healthy.  That they are not eating mostly Christmas candy and baked goods, but plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean meats, nuts, berries things like that," Kidman said.

"It seems to help a little bit.  The more water I drink helps me out; just try to eat healthy and go to the gym," Whitelock said.

Exercise is on the booster list, too.  Helpful tips that might help you enjoy the holidays and avoid getting sick.

Looking for a pill to pop to help boost your immune system?   Studies show vitamins C and D will help.  You can also add a little coconut oil to your post workout smoothie, and drink Matcha green tea, which is known for having high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants.

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