immune system

Tips to help boost the immune system as we head into winter.

Do you often worry about catching a virus throughout the winter months? Do you ever wonder how or if you are able to naturally boost your immune system? Well, the good news is that your immune system often does an outstanding job of protecting you from disease-causing bacteria. However occasionally it doesn’t work, and a pathogen infiltrates your body and makes you sick. Is it possible to strengthen your immune system before this process? What if you changed your eating habits? Are you prepared to make new adjustments to your lifestyle in the hopes of achieving a near-perfect immune system?

What can you do to boost your immune system?

While improving your immunity is easier said than done, making a few dietary and lifestyle modifications may help to enhance your body’s natural defenses and fight disease-causing germs.

Here are 6 natural ways to boost your immunity

1) Increase your intake of whole foods

Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are high in nutrients and antioxidants, which may help you fight diseases.

See below some nutritional foods which may strengthen your immune system:

  • Spinach: This super green vegetable is high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene, all which may help our immune systems battle infections.
  • Citrus fruits: Has anyone ever told you to drink some lemon water when you are fighting off a cold? This is because citrus fruits are extremely high in vitamin C.  They are thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting off infections!
  • Ginger: After becoming ill, many people resort to ginger. This may be due to its incredible ability to lower inflammation, assist with nausea and help lower cholesterol and chronic pain.
  • Blueberries: Anthocyanin, a flavonoid found in blueberries, has antioxidant characteristics that can help enhance a person’s immune system. According to a 2016 study, flavonoids are extremely important in the immune defence mechanism of the respiratory tract. Researchers found that people who ate foods high in flavonoids had a lower risk of getting an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold, than those who did not.
  • Oily fish: Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are extremely rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Long-chain omega-3 is known to help to prevent heart disease as well as boosting your natural immunity.

2) Exercise regularly but moderately

Although vigorous activity for lengthy periods of time can depress your immune system, moderate exercise can strengthen it. According to studies, even a single session of moderate exercise can improve a person’s impaired immunity. This can help rebuild your immune cells and minimize inflammation. Some examples of moderate exercises include cycling, running, brisk walking, and swimming. Researchers suggest that a person should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

3) Try to reduce or manage your stress levels

Minimizing stress is essential for good health. According to NIH, long-term stress causes inflammation and abnormalities in immune cell function. To reduce stress, you may want to try meditation, writing, yoga, TRE® and other mindfulness activities. If these practices are not successful in helping with stress levels, try working with a life coach, or visiting a counselor or therapist).

4) Limit or remove unhealthy lifestyle habits

Although not always easy, eliminating harmful behaviors and adopting a healthier lifestyle are two of the most effective strategies to enhance your immune system. When your body is shielded against environmental assaults, all of its components and systems will perform better. Unhealthy lifestyle habits refer to anything that induces more harm to your body than good. This includes smoking, drinking, drug use, over or under-eating, and consuming too much caffeine.

5) Try to maintain a healthy and consistent sleeping routine

Sleep and immunity are inextricably linked. In fact, a lack of or poor quality of sleep has been related to an increased risk of illness. A study of 164 healthy adults found that those who slept less than 6 hours per night were more likely to acquire a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night.  Getting enough sleep might help to boost your natural immunity. Also, while you’re unwell, you may need to sleep more to help your immune system fight the infection.

According to a reliable source, Adults should strive for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, while teenagers require eight to ten hours and smaller children and newborns require up to fifteen hours.  If you are having difficulties sleeping, you may want to reduce your screen time, avoid caffeine or exercise more.

6) Stay hydrated

Drinking water is a great way to boost your immune system. Water helps in the delivery of oxygen to body cells, resulting in correctly functioning systems. It also aids in the removal of toxins from the body. Drinking sufficient water, may also help prevent toxins from having a negative impact on your immune system. Try to avoid drinks with a lot of sugar and caffeine.

Although living in the Northern Hemisphere may make it a little difficult to achieve a near-perfect immune system, it is definitely possible to enhance your immunity by making a few lifestyle and nutritional modifications. By eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing your stress levels, you may be setting yourself up for a virus-free winter!

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