Boost your immune system during cold and flu season with these 10 tips!
How to Boost Your Immune System
Winter is known as cold and flu season, but the truth is that you can get sick time of the year. It’s possible to increase your immunity with food, vitamins, supplements, and stress management.
I do have a few tricks up my sleeve for those times when I feel I might be catching a bug. For me, stress management and a good night’s sleep are key. If I don’t sleep well and am feeling stressed-out, I’m more likely to come down with something. Here are a few ways to boost your immune system and combat those pesky colds.
10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
1. Reduce Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on the body, so proper stress management is crucial for keeping the immune system in good working order. Try listening to relaxing music, mediation, or doing yoga on a regular basis.
Exercise has many benefits, most of which result in a healthier body. Even moderate workouts can rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness of immune cells. Studies have shown that people who exercise catch fewer colds.
3. Get Enough Sleep
When we sleep, our bodies are hard at work detoxing, repairing, and rebuilding. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re denying our bodies the time it needs for these functions and we’re compromising our immune system. Aim for 7 to 8 hours every night.
4. Cook with Turmeric
Turmeric can be found in the spice aisle at the grocery store, but it’s been used for its medicinal properties in China and India for hundreds of years. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which can treat a whole host of ailments. When cooking with turmeric, make sure you add a little black pepper to the dish, in order for it to work properly. Turmeric supplements are also available.
5. Drink Lemon Water
Starting the day with warm water and lemon is said to aid with digestion, flush toxins, and give the immune system a boost. Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, which is known for its ability to combat colds.
6. Eat a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet
Whole foods are loaded with nutrients the body needs to stay healthy while most processed foods are just empty calories that end up putting extra strain on the body as it tries to process them. Most of the immune system resides in the gut, and whole foods will help keep everything in perfect working order. Things like processed packaged foods, sugar, and dairy products tend to junk up the system.
7. Take Probiotics
Because most of the immune system does reside in the gut, it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. Intestinal flora can sometimes get out of whack, so replenishing beneficial bacteria can help boost immunity. Probiotics can also help prevent and even treat some illnesses. Probiotic-rich food, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and kombucha can also help.
8. Have Some Garlic
The stinking rose contains broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents and immune boosting compounds. One clove is powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infections. Raw garlic is most beneficial, as heat and water can deactivate garlic’s sulfuric compounds. Raw onions and ginger are also known for their ability to keep colds at bay.
9. Supplement with Vitamins and Herbs
Vitamins C and D are both known for abilities fight infection and keep the immune system strong. There are also many immune boosting herbs such as oregano, eleuthero, ginseng, echinacea, amla, and astragalus. Avoid taking them on a daily basis, as regular use can diminish their effects. I like to take them for two weeks and then take a week off before adding them back into my routine again.
10. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
Tobacco can impair basic immune defenses, and it increases the risk of developing bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. Alcohol can also damage the immune system and increase the risk of infection.
Bonus Immune Boosting Tip: Wash Your Hands
Also be sure to wash your hands frequently. I’m not talking about a tiny squirt of soap and a quick rinse. You really need to work the soap really well into your hands, between your fingers, and even under your fingernails. You also want to avoid touching your face as much as possible, which I know is easier said than done. I am constantly touching my face, and I caught myself rubbing my chin while taking a break from typing this very paragraph.
What do you do to keep your immune system running?