Your immune system acts like the TSA at the airport; checking each bag for suspicious items before it gets inside the terminal. If they suspect anything dangerous or harmful, the item is detected and removed. There are several easy and natural steps you can take to strengthen your immune system and arm yourself against colds and the flu. Though it’s important to know the ways to boost and maintain a healthy immune system, it’s crucial to understand what suppresses it. Chronic stress, processed foods, smoking, lack of sleep and dehydration can and will deplete your immune system. It’s important to make sleep, health eating, handwashing, and exercise a priority when it comes to your health. Here are some simple ways to keep a healthy and functioning immune system.
- Limit Alcohol: Alcohol naturally depresses the immune system. It’s best to drink in moderation or not at all. Men should limit up to two drinks per day and women should have no more than one. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to indulge in an occasional drink and how much is ok for you to consume.
- Quit Smoking: If you smoke, it’s imperative you find a way to quit. Smoking and nicotine use are bad for the immune system. There are many different strategies to help you quit, talk to your doctor for some recommendations.
- Wash Your Hands: Frequent handwashing and sanitizing is a simple and effective way to prevent and stop the spread of respiratory infections such as colds. It’s easy to transfer germs to your nose, ears, and mouth if you touch them, so make sure to wash and sanitize your hands regularly.
- Make Sleep a Priority: There are several studies that confirm the link between sleep and a maintaining a healthy immune system. Most people need between 7 to 9 hours to feel adequately rested and recharged. Getting enough sleep improves the function of white blood cells, so you’re less likely to get illness such as colds, respiratory infections and the flu. Avoid substances that can interfere with sleep, like caffeine and alcohol, for several hours before bedtime.
- Exercise Regularly: I know this sounds cliché but working out has numerous health benefits including boosting your immune system. Walking is one of the simplest ways to exercise. I would also recommend, yoga, swimming, golf or cycling. Gardening is also a great way to get some outdoor activity. Make sure to not exercise too much, because this can weaken your immune system. Give your body enough time to naturally repair muscles, joints and tissues.
- Take Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial strains of bacteria that have been described as immune boosters. Not only will they do wonders to your overall digestive health, but they can improve skin complexion and metabolism.
- Soak up Some Sunshine: Though you might resist the idea of going outside when it’s rainy or snowing but venturing out when there’s a bit of sun is great for your immunity. You only need a few minutes – between 15 to 20 – to get the D dosage you need. If you don’t have a lot of sun, take a regular vitamin D supplement.
- Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Eating a better diet not only helps your body recover faster – it helps build up your immune TSA agents so it’s more dynamic and resilient. Eat more foods like kale, collards, tomatoes, salmon, tuna, oranges, strawberries, cut out the processed foods and limit sugar.
- Lessen the Stress: Managing stress is one of the most necessary yet underutilized ways to protect and improve your immune system. Stress can weaken and destroy your immunity. Try mediation, hanging out with friends, laughing and create and calm and soothing environment.
- Drink Tea: Black and green teas are bursting with disease-fighting antioxidants that can build up your resistance to getting sick. I like calming teas too such as chamomile and lemon balm. Tip: If you’re sick try adding some honey and lemon to your tea, it’s natural anti-fungal properties can reduce congestion and soothe a sore throat.
There’s one more step that’s most crucial – staying positive. Try not being so hard on yourself and remember you’re only human. Practice gratitude and think of at least three things that you are grateful for every day. Try and see the glass half full instead of half empty. You may not always be able to control the events and people around you, but you can always decide how to respond to them. Respond with a good attitude to increase the chances of the best outcome and to strengthen your immunity. Make a strong social network, pick up the phone and call someone, make plans, volunteer, join a class or pick up a new hobby. Remember to look around occasionally, take in the good in life, turn on a funny movie and put down the social media.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.