With cold and flu season upon us, it’s important to take good care of yourself - not just when you get sick, but before as well. Nourish your body and mind with these five immune-boosting nutrition and wellness tips.
1. Prioritize physical fitness
Don’t let cold weather keep you from staying active – just a few minutes of activity a day can help prevent certain bacterial and viral infections . Bundle up and go for a walk/run, take the family ice skating, or try a new group class at your local gym/community centre.
2. Stay hydrated
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day to keep your body at peak performance and health. You can also incorporate other healthy liquids into your diet like herbal teas and low-sodium broths through soups.
3. Recharge through sleep
Sleep has an intricate relationship with both our general well-being and physical health. Give your immune system a boost by getting between 7-9 hours of good, uninterrupted sleep per night with these strategies from Starling Minds.
4. Fill up on seasonal and gut-healthy foods
Winter offers a variety of hearty and healthy seasonal vegetables you can use in your cooking. This includes beets, cabbage, sweet potatoes, leeks, squash and kale  – all great ingredients for an oven-roasted sheet pan meal or a rich soup/stew. There’s also a strong link between a healthy gut and a strong immune system. Ensure that you include foods with high levels of probiotics and fibre in your diet to maintain gut health – think yogurt, fermented foods, beans and whole-wheat grains.
5. Manage stress
Stress can have an intense impact on not only your well-being, but also your immune system. To support and protect your mental health, OTIP offers wellness programs to all eligible plan members. Take advantage of these free, confidential tools to check in on your mental health and better manage stress this cold and flu season and beyond.
Dietary and lifestyle choices play a crucial role in keeping you and your family well. By focusing on building healthy habits, you can fortify your defenses and reduce the risk and/or impact of falling ill this season.
For more information about your benefits coverage or the services available to you through your benefits plan, you can view your benefits booklet on the OTIP plan member site.
 How to Stay Active in Cold Weather | American Heart Association
 Best What’s In Season? Your Guide To Canadian Fruits And Vegetables Recipes, News, Tips And How-Tos (foodnetwork.ca)