How to boost your immune system
The flu, colds, and other illnesses affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives. The key to boosting your immune system and staying healthy during the cold season or flu season (or any time of year) is prevention. With these tips on how to boost your immune system, you’ll be better equipped to stay healthy.
Avoid crowded places
When you’re sick, it’s tempting to go straight home and crawl into bed and that’s not always a bad idea. But, going out in public where other people might be sick can help you spread your illness further.
If you need to get something from a drugstore or another store where there are people, avoid as many of them as possible by zipping in and zipping out without stopping or lingering.
And if you do end up coming down with something, don’t share drinks or utensils with anyone else; if someone has already touched an item, chances are they have passed on their germs.
It may seem obvious, but washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to Avert spreading sicknesses. You should also stay away from others when you start feeling ill until you know for sure what’s wrong. Finally, keep stress levels low.
Stress can make symptoms worse, so try meditating, reading a book, or getting some exercise instead of working yourself up over something stressful.
Also, remember that every virus is different and responds differently to a treatment. Be patient with yourself and treat your body right while you wait for it to heal itself.
And, most importantly, get plenty of rest! If you’re running around while sick, trying to push through it, you could end up making yourself even more ill.
Wash hands regularly
Our hands are some of our biggest conduits for germs, and they have direct contact with everything we touch. Regular hand washing is one of the easiest ways to ward off colds, flu, and other illnesses.
Use warm water and soap (liquid or bar), rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice if you need help keeping track), rinse under running water, then dry using a paper towel or air dryer. You can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer in place of regular hand washing.
Just make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol—the higher percentage, the better it will kill germs. If you can, avoid touching your face while washing your hands.
This helps cut down on spreading bacteria from your hands to your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you do touch these areas while washing up, be sure to wash them again before going on to clean any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated by bacteria from those areas.
It’s also important to know how long you should wait after washing your hands before eating food or touching your face.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends waiting at least 15–20 seconds after washing before eating food, drinking beverages, smoking cigarettes, applying makeup/lipstick/cosmetics/etc., handling pets/animals, etc. And it goes without saying that you should never eat when preparing food.
As far as your face goes, avoid touching it until you’ve washed your hands first. Afterward, be sure to thoroughly dry your hands so they don’t leave behind moisture that could lead to breakouts or other skin issues.
Also, consider how often you touch things like door handles and phones; more than half of all adults report not washing their hands after coughing or sneezing into their palms.
Take vitamin C
Taking vitamin C as a supplement has been shown to help raise our natural levels of antibodies, which help us fight off infections and bacteria.
Boosting our immunity is just one perk that can come from taking vitamin C regularly. Just make sure you’re not taking more than 2,000 milligrams per day too much can lead to digestive issues and an upset stomach.
If you do want to supplement with vitamin C, speak with your doctor first; they’ll know how much is safe for you personally. And if you aren’t already eating foods high in vitamin C (like oranges, broccoli, or Cranberries), it might be worth upping your intake by adding them to your diet.
A healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals can be good for more than just boosting your immune system it also supports cognitive function and heart health. So what are you waiting for? Eat up.
Eat well-balanced meals
Eating well-balanced meals is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to eat five or six times per day, at regular intervals.
This will ensure that you consume plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals all essential for boosting your immune system. Eating small, high-protein snacks throughout the day also avert dips in blood sugar levels that can weaken your immunity.
Furthermore, eating regularly helps prevent bingeing later on in the day. If you know you’re going to be tempted by unhealthy food, later on, make sure to eat something healthier earlier on so that you don’t end up eating too much when it comes time for dinner.
For example, if you know there are cookies in your co-worker’s desk drawer after lunchtime, have an apple before heading out. Or, if you’re planning on making some homemade chocolate chip cookies with your kids after school, pack a piece of fruit as part of their afternoon snack.
Maintaining a balanced diet ensures that you get all of the nutrients you need while staying away from foods that might negatively affect your health.
Avoiding processed foods and sticking to whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, fish (wild-caught), grass-fed meats (free-range/organic), eggs (organic), healthy fats (coconut oil/olive oil/avocado oil), bone broth soups; limit grains and dairy products; cutting back on added sugars is another way to keep your body running smoothly. Get lots of sleep each night: Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Go for a walk
Walking is easy and it’s free. There’s no excuse not to walk as a way of boosting your immune system. The next time you feel a cold coming on, get outside and stroll around for 20 minutes or so, if you can it could make all the difference in beating off that cold before it gets out of hand.
If walking isn’t an option, go for a quick jog around your neighborhood or gym; it will help beat back those germs. And don’t forget about getting adequate sleep each night, too. It helps your body fight infections.
Of course, when we think of ways to boost our immune systems we usually think first of our diets. That’s because the foods we eat are responsible for providing us with vitamins and minerals that keep our cells healthy so they can do their jobs without fail.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is a key part of boosting your immune system. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep every night; if you’re frequently running on less than that, your body will have trouble fighting off and recovering from sickness.
To keep yourself healthy, make sure you’re getting as much sleep as you need every night. You should also try to get some exercise during your day the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes per week as it can improve immunity by increasing blood flow and oxygen throughout your body.
And don’t forget about washing your hands! It may seem like an obvious one, but it helps prevent spreading germs between surfaces and people.
Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds at least twice a day: before eating or touching food, after using public transportation or any shared area (like a bathroom), after changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer in addition to handwashing when those situations aren’t available. If you are sick with something contagious, avoid close contact with others until you recover.
Smoking has a direct effect on how long you live and how healthy you are. The World Health Organization now classifies secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen, meaning it’s proven to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke kills approximately 600,000 people every year.
In fact, smoking causes nearly 30% of all cancer deaths in both men and women worldwide. If you want your immune system boosted, avoid smoking at all costs. Staying away from cigarette smoke, limiting your exposure to air pollution, exercising regularly, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, consider taking supplements such as Vitamin C or Echinacea for an extra immune-boosting punch.
There are also herbal remedies that have been shown to improve immunity; these include Andrographis paniculata (Andrographis), Berberine (Barberry), Echinacea purpurea (Echinacea), and Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi).
It’s important to note that none of these herbs have been studied extensively, so be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any new regimen.
Try yoga or meditation
These two practices have been proven to lower stress, one of our body’s key triggers for sickness. By incorporating these into our day-to-day routines, we can significantly decrease our susceptibility to illness.
One study suggests that meditation and yoga can even increase telomerase, an enzyme that helps repair DNA damage within cells which makes them more effective than high-intensity exercise at protecting against cancer and heart disease.
What’s more? Both are also great for reducing anxiety, which is another major contributor to a weakened immune system.
Lower stress levels.
If you’re in a good mood, you feel like eating right and exercising. But if you have too much stress, it can make it difficult for your body to do what it needs to keep itself healthy.
Reducing stress levels is important because stress has been shown to increase inflammation and make people more vulnerable to infections.
So one way people attempt to boost their immune systems is by removing or lowering stress levels.