It's cold and flu season and everyone is trying to avoid what might be the inevitable. But just because it's winter, doesn't mean you have to set aside time to lay in bed suffering. Here are a few good, easy tips for boosting your immune system and avoiding the dreadful flu season.

 

Diet

diet

 

Experts suggest maintaining an antioxidant-rich diet to support your immune system. Try eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Asparagus, avocado and parsley are a few of the foods believed to be best. Sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, peaches, tuna, beef, poultry, oats and brown rice are also considered good foods to bring into your diet. If you feel like your diet isn't up to the “immune code,” try taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.

 

Exercise

exercise

 

Research shows that those who are physically active are about half as likely to catch a cold as those who don't. Experts suggest looking at exercise like you do your diet – an essential part of your day.

 

Stress

stress

 

Make sure you do something every day that relieves your stress, which is essential to keeping your immune system in check. Chronic stress can impact your body's ability to fight off infections. And if you're under stress, your diet will be affected, you will have trouble sleeping and will likely not exercise. So try yoga, having lunch with a friend or going for a relaxing walk during the day.

 

Sleep

sleep

 

You need sleep. Not enough will automatically weaken your immune system. Research shows that risk of weakening your immune system rises significantly if you sleep less than seven hours a night. The hormone melatonin is secreted when you sleep and since not enough melatonin production can decrease your immune function, experts say it is important to get your sleeping habits under control.

 

Liver control

kale

 

Supporting your liver allows it to detoxify and provide a positive environment for immune cells that live there. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage are good foods to help boost the liver's ability to flush out toxins.