Helpful ways to boost your immune system and fight off disease
With everything that’s going on in the world right now, maintaining good health is of key importance. When you immune system is strong, you have a better chance of fighting off colds, flus and other infections.
Having healthy habits and feeding your body nutritious foods can help optimize your immune system and keep it strong. Though there is no way you can prevent getting sick, having a healthy baseline will give you body the best chance of fighting off illnesses. Most of key things are easy to do and completely natural, so today I’m sharing ways to boost your immune system so you can reduce your chances of viral infection and flu.
Healthy Ways to Strengthen and Boost Your Immune System
When it comes to preventing colds, flus and fighting infections, your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Sleep deprivation can increase the hormone cortisol, and prolonged elevation of it suppresses immune function capability.
Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
But how much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is 6 to 8 hours of a good night’s sleep and 9-10 hours for children and teenagers.
2. Manage Stress
It’s hard not to be be stressed in times like this. But when we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. Much like sleep, causes an increase in cortisol that suppresses the immune function of our bodies.
Try to relax with meditation or connect with friends online or over the phone. Studies surrounding stress underscore the value of good friends. Just connecting with few close friends can help someone feel connected and stay strong. Also helpful is trying to find activities that add meaning to your day and help take your mind off the current situation.
3. Add Citrus Foods to Your Diet
Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds will provide your body with the essential nutrients your immune system needs. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment.
Citrus foods are particularly good because they contain Vitamin C along with many other vitamins and minerals essential to good health and immune function.
Most people turn to Vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold because it helps build up your immune system. But it’s effective in preventing illness as well. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells which are key to fighting infections. Popular citrus foods include grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes.
You may also want to consider taking vitamins to supplement your diet and to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Check out my busy girl’s guide to vitamins and nutrition to learn more.
4. Add Probiotics to your diet
Gut health plays an very important role in your immune system, as well as overall health. Inside your intestines are about 100 trillion microorganisms that promote normal GI function, protect the body from infection, and regulate metabolism and the mucosal immune system. In fact, they comprise more than 75% of the immune system.
Keeping a balance of healthy gut bacteria by eating the right foods. The best way to increase microbiome diversity is by eating a wide range of plant-based foods, which are high in fibre, and limiting ultra-processed foods such as junk food.
You can also support your microbiome by regularly eating natural yogurt and artisan cheeses, which contain live microbes aka probiotics.
5. Enjoy the Sunshine
Sunlight allows us to make Vitamin D, and associated with healthier living, But studies have shown that that sunlight also energizes T cells that play a central role in human immunity.
Try to get 15-20 minutes of natural sunlight a day, but if that’s available for you, you can also opt for a supplemental Vitamin D to add to you diet, or foods like fatty fish, egg yolks or foods fortified with Vitamin D like some dairy and cereals.
6. Go for the Garlic
Eating garlic can provide a wide variety of health benefits. It’s has been used for centuries as both a food ingredient and a medicine.
Garlic boosts immune function and contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs. Studies have shown that garlic reduces the risk of becoming sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms.
Keep in mind though, because heat deactivates a key active ingredient, add it to foods just before serving to get all the benefits for boosting your immune system.
Just like a healthy diet, exercise contributes to general good health and therefore helps to strengthen and boost your immune system.
Going to the gym might not be an option right now, but try to get at least 20 minutes of activity into your day. This can be going for a brisk walk or doing a home workout. If you’re don’t know where to start, YouTube has a range of home workout videos that you can follow along and often you don’t need more just a small a space in your home.
8. Maintain Good Hygiene
I’m sure we all know this by now, but I think it’s important I mention this as well. The first line of defense to keeping germs and viruses at bay is by following good personal hygiene habits. It prevents infections and illness before it begins and avoids the spread of it to others.
Washing your hands frequently, especially when you coming home after being out, before eating and preparing food, and after doing dirty tasks. You should also wash you hands after you cough or sneeze, feeding or stroking your pet, and before and after visiting someone who is sick.
It’s important not to share food or drinks, as well as glasses, dishes, or eating utensils. And try to avoid direct contact with other people and maintain a safe distance with others.
Hope you found these tips helpful!
Have any immune boosting tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!
Stay safe and healthy!