We are in the midst of cold and flu season, and knowing how to boost your immune system can help you ward off sicknesses not just in the winter but all throughout the year.
Keeping your immune system in tip-top shape entails taking good care of yourself as a whole, avoiding substances that can lower your immune system, getting preventative medical care, and adding some supplements into your daily regimen.
Here are some more specific ways to boost your immune system and increase your chances of avoiding the next bug that goes around…
Exercise, Sleep, Eat, and Hydrate Well
Taking care of your body will allow it to fight off illnesses and heal from minor germ breaches.
The best ways you can do that are to exercise daily, sleep 7 to 8 hours each night, and fill your diet with healthy foods—particularly those containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Exercise: Exercising for 30 minutes each day is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for all adults. This can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk every day when you get home from work. The 30 minutes does not have to be done all at once. You can break it up into 10-minute increments. Parking down the street from your office building, stopping at the grocery store on the way home, and dancing with the kids while cooking dinner are all ways you can get extra movement into your days.
Rest: Sleep is extremely important to your immune system too. During sleep, your body will rejuvenate itself and build up defenses for the next day. Strive for 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye if possible. If you are able to wake up most days without your alarm, chances are good that you’re getting enough sleep. If not, go to bed a bit earlier to get more rest.
Diet: If you have succumbed to the temptation of delicious holiday goodies (and who hasn’t?), it’s time to get back on track. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables—particularly berries, dark leafy greens, and purplish produce (such as plums, beets, and red cabbage). These contain high levels of antioxidants, which are chemicals that neutralize cell damage and boost the immune system. Avoid large amounts of sugars and refined carbohydrates, which stall digestion, cause inflammation in the body, and have been shown to lower immune response for several hours after eating them!
Hydrate: Drinking a lot of water is good for your body, and it’s also beneficial to your immune system. Staying adequately hydrated can help your body eliminate toxins and waste materials, making your immune system able to better fight infection. Dehydration can also affect your energy levels, as well as your ability to sleep, which can make you less likely to exercise, another trigger for a weakened immune system. A healthy rule of thumb is drinking half your body weight in ounces. Also keep in mind that drinking coffee, tea, alcohol, etc., dehydrates the body because such beverages are diuretics. Drinking even more water is recommended to stay hydrated if you regularly consume these drinks.
Reduce Your Physical and Mental Stress
Stress can have a negative effect on how you’re feeling, and we don’t mean that only in the sense of your mental health. High stress levels equal high inflammation, and this can cause a suppression of the immune system. If you are feeling stressed out, learn about relaxation methods that can help. Yoga, meditation, journaling, and guided imagery are all great options. So is seeing a therapist if you are dealing with too much stress to handle on your own.
Don’t forget about physical stress, either. Indulging habits such as drinking too much alcohol, spending too much time being sedentary, and smoking cigarettes is hard on your physical health. Cut back on these activities and strive to make more positive lifestyle choices.
See Your Doctor
Some preventative health care can boost your immune system because it can help determine whether you are deficient in any nutrients or if you are dealing with health problems that can make it harder for your body to fight off illness
See your doctor for a routine checkup that includes blood work.
Consider Supplements as Needed
Finally, find out whether taking supplements might help boost your immune system. If you are deficient in any vitamins, supplements can help you avoid illness. For example, many North Americans have low levels of vitamin D. Your body will make vitamin D in response to spending time in the sun, but most of the country is too cold in the winter to allow for sunbathing. If you are deficient, taking a vitamin D-3 supplement can make it less likely that you will catch a cold or the flu.
IP6 Energy is a supplement that can boost your immune health by supplying your body with antioxidants. It can also improve kidney health, heart health, and bone health.*
Talk to your doctor before making major changes when it comes to your health. Let him or her know that you are interested in boosting your immune system and follow the recommendations you get that are based on your specific circumstances.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2019!