With all that’s going on in the world today, we need to do all we can to keep our immune systems as strong as possible. Fortunately, there are some simple, natural ways to accomplish this. Here are ten tips about how you can strengthen your immune system.
10. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
By now everyone knows that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is good for your health. In fact, according to Dr. Oz, fruits and vegetables enhance your immune response. Now, we know there are some of you who cringe at the thought of eating vegetables. But, there are alternative ways you can do it and still reap the health benefits. For example, you can try Dr. Oz’s “green energy machine” smoothie recipe, which includes spinach, matcha powder, almond milk, pitted dates, and half a frozen banana.
9. Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercising regularly is good for your immune system because it contributes to overall good health. It lowers your blood pressure, improves your cardiovascular health, and helps you maintain a healthy weight — something else that’s also important for a healthy immune system. It also protects you against a variety of diseases. But, perhaps most important of all, regular exercise may contribute more directly to a healthy immune system by promoting good circulation, which allows your cells and substances of your immune system to move through your body freely and do their job efficiently.
8. Consider Taking Vitamin Supplements
Everyone knows that vitamin C is key to a healthy immune system. But, did you also know there are other vitamins that are just as important? One vitamin that can help slow down the progression of viruses is vitamin D, which you get from the sun. Unfortunately, not many of us are going outside as often nowadays due to coronavirus. That’s why it’s essential to take a vitamin D supplement. Other nutrients recommended include elderberry and zinc. Of course with any changes you make to your health regimen, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor beforehand.
7. Get Plenty of Rest
Getting adequate sleep can help reduce stress on your immune system. Speaking of stress, minimizing the amount you have as much as possible also helps protect your immune system. In fact, many illnesses are linked to emotional stress. That being said, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce and/or eliminate the emotional stress in your life. Meditation is one. Yoga is another. It could be “something as simple as a five-minute yoga tactic,” Dr. Oz told TODAY. Or, just having some quiet time can do the trick as well. “Go sit on the toilet seat, put it down — you’re not going to the bathroom — sit there, quiet yourself, and just realize that it’s OK. No one will bother you there,” Oz said.
6. Go Outside
We’ve already mentioned that you can get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun. And, what better way to get that than to spend some time outside? But, it’s not just vitamin D that you can get from going outside. Sunlight itself energizes our bodies’ T cells, which in turn helps fight infection. Additionally, plants release phytoncides into the air. These organic compounds boost immune function.
TIP: Although getting a little sunlight is good for you, getting too much can be detrimental to your health. That being said, you should wear sunscreen, long sleeves, sunglasses, and a hat if you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time outdoors.
5. Get Plenty of Love and Affection
Listen up, ladies. This is just for you. According to a fairly recent study, being in love can prevent women from catching a cold. According to the research, the blood samples from women in new relationships (i.e. women who’d been seeing someone for less than a month) showed an increase in activity of certain genes involved in antiviral defenses. “This could reflect a kind of a proactive response to anticipating future intimate contact, given that most viruses are spread via close physical contact,” said Damian Murray, lead author of the study and assistant professor at Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering, according to INSIDER. “However, this increased activity of antiviral genes is also consistent with the biological preparation of the body for pregnancy. From this women-only sample, both of these interpretations remain possible.”
4. Don’t Drink or Smoke
Anyone who’s been around long enough knows the dangers of smoking. It’s harmful to your immune system and can make your body less successful at fighting disease. What’s more, is that smoking can also compromise the equilibrium of your immune system. This increases your risk of developing several immune and autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis.
And, while drinking can actually be good for you, you should only do so in moderation. According to an article published by Inc. Magazine, hangovers are an indication that your liver is working too hard. Not only that but alcohol diminishes your body’s T-cell count, as well as your B-cells, which make antibodies to fight bacteria.
3. Use a Humidifier
Studies have shown that humidity, a.k.a. water in the air, can slow the spread of influenza. That’s because low humidity dries out the mucus that coats your nose and airways, making it easier for you to get sick. This can be especially problematic in the winter since the heating system in your home can make indoor air incredibly dry. As a result, the CDC recommends investing in a humidifier to help fight symptoms like cough and sore throat for other common coronaviruses, although they haven’t recommended it for COVID-19.
-If by chance you don’t have a humidifier on hand, you can always run a hot shower to breathe in the steam. Or, you can breathe in the steam from a pot of boiling water.
-Don’t boost the humidity too high. It can spur mold growth.
2. Get the Flu Shot
Most people believe that getting a flu shot weakens your immune system and makes you more likely to get the flu. But, a recent study actually showed that some flu vaccines cause a stronger immune response among older adults. Study participants received either a standard four-component flu vaccine or one of three specially formulated flu vaccine options sometimes called “enhanced” vaccines. These included a high-dose three-component flu vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular dose flu vaccine; a three-component flu vaccine that contains a specially formulated adjuvant; and a four-component recombinant hemagglutinin (HA) vaccine that involves cell-based rather than egg-based production and contains three times the amount antigen. What the researchers discovered is that “all three of the enhanced vaccines produced an improved immune response as measured by antibody levels against influenza A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) viruses compared to a standard-dose vaccine,” the CDC reported on its website.
1. Avoid Infection
One of the best ways to strengthen your immune system is to avoid getting infected in the first place. There are a number of steps you can take to avoid infection. Perhaps the most important one is washing your hands frequently. But, here’s something else that you might not have considered: not cooking meats thoroughly can also harm your immune system. Consuming undercooked steak, for example, can “lead to serious food poisoning,” New Jersey-based steakhouse Prime-13 said on its website. “The symptoms of infection usually begin after 2 days of ingesting the bacteria [in the undercooked meat]. It then spreads to other parts of your body and bloodstream, compromising your immunity.”
Your turn! What things are you doing to keep your immune system strong? Let us know in the comments below.