We are now into fall, and as the days get colder, there’s no better time to make sure your immune system is in tiptop shape. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot catch a cold from cold temperatures. More people get sick during the colder months because they spend more time inside, and have more contact with sick people. But this is all the more reason to enhance your immune system and keep it functioning at an optimal level. Here are some easy tips everyone should follow:

  1. You are what you eat:

We refer to your diet as your daily nutritional intake, and it is the most important general factor of your health that you can control. “Diets” do not work, and if it looks too good to be true in the pages of a magazine, well… you know the saying. Our physicians suggest a lifestyle commitment to a low-glycemic, balanced diet for most individuals. Nutrient-dense vegetables in particular will supply the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals essential for optimal immune function.

  1. Omega 3’s are good; Omega 6’s are bad:

Leave the above diet out of the fryer, and stay away from commercial foods, which are usually produced using Omega 6 oils such as corn, peanut, soybean and sunflower. Omega-3 fatty acids (Fish Oil), especially DHA help boost cellular immunity along with a ton of other added benefits.

  1. Stress is stressful:

Stress can wreak havoc on not only your immune system, but your brain & heart function as well. Stress also affects your quality of sleep, which in turn raises your stress level. It’s a vicious cycle. For those of you who don’t have the time for meditation classes, yoga or other stress reduction techniques, try breathing at a rate of 6-breaths per minute for 3-5 minutes, twice a day. Start small, and build up over time to more effective stress relief techniques. Your body and mind will thank you.

  1. Sugar is the new fat.

Fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. In fact, mono-unsaturated fats are essential to a healthy diet. Excessive sugar on the other hand (fructose) will not only aid in weight gain, it can impair cellular immunity and overall immune function.

  1. Regular, moderate exercise

A gym membership, subscriptions to in-home video workouts or a $10,000 bicycle are not necessary to keep your immune system healthy. Regular, moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week will do the trick. Break a sweat, keep your heart rate elevated and enjoy the beautiful weather outside. Remember from the stress part? Start small. P.S. Regular exercise will also help with your stress level.

So to recap: Good food and the right oils make you feel good. When you feel good, you want to exercise. When you exercise your stress level goes down. When your stress level goes down you sleep better and your heart and brain become healthier. When your heart and brain are healthy, it just makes sense to eat better food. And repeat.