First of all, let's clear up a misconception about why more people get sick in the winter, compared to warmer times of the year.
So many people still have the misconception that the cold temperature itself can make you sick...This is not true. There are 2 theories that I think have the most validity as to why more colds, flu, and sickness occur in the winter:
- It may have to do with people generally spending more time indoors in the winter and thereby being exposed to more germs in enclosed buildings.
- People don't get much sunlight in the winter and therefore, Vitamin D levels in the body drop significantly, which reduces immunity. Most people don't realize how important sunlight and Vitamin D levels really are towards so many functions inside their body. Even for people that get outdoors in the winter often, if you live to the North of an imaginary line from approximately Atlanta to Los Angeles, the suns rays are not strong enough in the winter months to stimulate any significant Vitamin D production inside your body. This aspect of lack of Vitamin D production and lowered immune strength in the winter months is what is most likely the REAL reason why more sickness goes around in the winter.
But the purpose of this article is not to debate about the causes of winter colds and flu... the purpose is to provide tips to help bolster your immune system to fight off sickness before it gets a hold of you. So here is my little ritual that I've been using for a few years now and really seems to keep me from getting any colds, flu, or any sickness at all. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I was legitimately sick. Every time I feel a cold or something starting to come on, I do this ritual, strengthen my immune system, and my body always fights it off before I actually get sick....
Focus on Vitamin D (but not in pill form) You need to be careful about artificial forms of vitamin D in many vitamin pills, as artificial vitamin forms are almost always either ineffective or possibly even detrimental compared to natural forms.
For this reason, you need to get your vitamin D naturally. The sun is the best source, and leads to a powerful strengthening of your immune system when your body can naturally produce Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure.
Since you may not be going on a tropical vacation this winter, how can you still keep Vitamin D levels from falling dangerously low in your body? Well, the best food sources of natural Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish, organ meats, and some mushrooms. I also like to take a SMALL dose of cod liver oil daily in the deepest months of winter to make sure my vitamin D levels don't fall too low. Make sure to take only small doses of cod liver oil, as large doses can give you an overdose of Vitamin A. I take half of the recommended dose on the bottle.
FYI - The synthetic version of Vitamin D is ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), while the natural form is cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). btw, fortified milk has added D2, not D3... so that's not a good source.