7 Tips to Boost Your Immunity
Your ability to fight off a disease or resist an infection is what is known as immunity. How quickly you are able to recover from an illness or how often you fall sick is an indication of how strong your immunity is. A strong immunity is a sign of good health. It means your white blood cells are able to fight off likely infectious diseases and you are less likely to catch an infection. You might have noticed that friend of yours who almost never gets sick. Chances are, she has got a strong immune system.
Well, don’t be jealous. You too can have a strong immunity to diseases. And no, it doesn’t cost a fortune to strengthen it. All you need is to follow these tips and you might be spending a significantly lesser time on the bed with a runny nose.
1. Fit in Your Recommended Activity
Current guidelines advise Americans do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, like brisk walking, a week. Research shows the immune system benefits from engaging in a regular physical activity, says Dr. Edward Laskowski, co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine and a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation based in Rochester, Minnesota. Exercise boosts the production of microphages, cells that attack bacteria that can trigger some of the upper respiratory tract infections we get, he says. And physical activity increases the circulation of many cells in our body that help fend off viruses and harmful bacteria. Just know your body’s limits, and allow adequate time for recovery between workouts to ensure you’re receiving the maximum boost from exercise.
2. Herbs and Other Supplements
Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to “support immunity” or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don’t know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.
3. Snack on Yogurt
“It’s too early to say for sure that they prevent colds and flu, but probiotics may promote a healthier immune system,” says Dr. Eric Gershwin, chief of rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology at the University of California at Davis. Probiotics are supplements of live microorganisms added to foods such as yogurt and are also available in capsule form. In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, athletes who took a probiotic supplement had half as many days with respiratory symptoms as those in the placebo group. To benefit, a person should consume between one and 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of active probiotics per day, adds Carolanne Nelson, a professor in the department of family and nutritional sciences at the University of Prince Edward Island. Look for grocery products that state how many CFUs they contain.
4. Eat more Garlic
You may not be doing your breath any favors, but eating garlic regularly can do wonders for your health. Not only does it boost your immune system, it can help prevent heart disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The best part? It’s delicious. Blend together pesto with raw garlic and throw it over a pasta or bread. Or if you’re feeling bold, whip up a spicy, homemade immunity shot with raw garlic, ginger, carrots, and lemon for a quick system boost.
5. Soak up Sunshine for a Healthier Immune System
Aside from putting a smile on your face, a moderate dose of sunshine can benefit your health, too. The rays of the sun trigger your skin’s production of vitamin D, which is crucial to maintaining an immune system that can fight infections. It’s also important to note that when you’re pregnant, your skin is more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to limit full summer exposure to short bursts of 10-15 minutes and wear a natural, pregnancy-safe sunscreen.
6. Reduce Stress
During flu season or any time of year, stress weakens the immune system and impairs digestive function. Take a break, take a walk in the summer sun, just don’t get stressed out. (Vitamin D helps alleviate stress, too.)
7. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is one of the best things you can do to boost your immune system.
Have you ever got sick and then “slept it off?”
There’s a reason why sleep can help you feel better! Sleep is our bodies way of cleansing and repairing the body. Getting enough quality sleep can help your immune system run properly. Make it a priority! If you have little ones, something that helped me a ton was sleeping when my babies slept. Even if it’s just a quick nap, it can help!