Do you always feel like you’re getting sick while your family and friends skate through without catching everything you have? If this sounds like you, it’s time to start boosting your immune system. This system is your body’s natural defense mechanism that helps fight off illnesses. The stronger it is, the more it can fight without you feeling an ounce of sickness. When your immune system is weak, invaders, such as bacteria, start to come in, and your body can’t fight it off. Therefore, you find yourself with the cold, flu, or another illness.
There are foods that you can eat to help boost your immune system. Furthermore, there are also vitamins that you can take. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to improve your system is naturally. The trick is to follow the routine you set for yourself, pay attention to what you eat, and do whatever you can to ensure your immune system is healthy. Not sure where to begin? This article will help you by focusing on the best natural ways to improve your system.
Get Enough Sleep
There are many moments in your life where it’s tough to get enough sleep. The beautiful sleeping baby above is often one of these challenging moments. However, it’s essential that you team with your partner or a friend, especially during cold and flu season, so you can get as much sleep as possible. Of course, you can also remember that the dishes and laundry will still be there when you wake up from a nap with your little one. Letting things stress you out will only make it harder for you to fall asleep when it’s midnight, so try some deep meditation exercises before you lay down in bed.
They will help slow your heart rate and calm your mind so that you’re not fretting about the day’s events. While you don’t need as much sleep as a baby, adults still need about 7 to 8 hours to keep their immune system happy. Studies prove that adults who slept less than 6 hours every night caught a common cold more often than people who get seven or more hours of sleep. If you struggle to sleep, try turning off any devices a few minutes before going to bed, reading, using a sleep mask, or becoming more active.
When most people think of eating a healthy diet, they think of making sure they get the number of fruits and vegetables they need every day. They also ensure that they don’t eat too many junk foods. However, there is more to eating healthy than watching what you eat. It means that you’re following the servings listed on the food pyramid. It also means that you’re not overeating, eat enough, and watch how often you eat. For example, you won’t eat half of your daily intake in one meal.
Another part of eating healthy means that you know what you’re putting into your food. What spices and herbs do you use, and what do they do for your body? Will they help you boost your immune system, or are they more of a taste filling with little nutrition? Go for spices that are known to help with digestion. That way, you’re not suffering from tummy aches or ulcers in the future. Promoting good gut flora will eliminate most of the digestion issues a person has and make it easier for your stomach to digest those “harder” foods during those “cheat days” of your healthy eating.
When people think about boosting their immune system, they focus on the foods they put into their bodies. However, there’s more to increase your system than what you’ve decided to eat. While that is important, you also want to ensure that you’re getting all vitamins and essential nutrients. Studies show that when you lack micronutrients, such as vitamins, your immune system declines. That is because micronutrients are crucial for helping those more-important nutrients to flourish and be absorbed more readily by the body.
The A-B-C-D-Es stands for the essential vitamins your body needs every day, especially vitamins A, B2, B6, C, D, and E. All of these have linked themselves to improving your immune system through various studies. They all play an essential role in maintaining your health and fighting off illnesses. They also help with the functioning of the body’s major organs, such as the eyes, the cells within each organ, your blood, and your brain’s functioning. A lack of any of these essential vitamins will result in a general decline in your health.
Many whole plant foods will give you the essential nutrients you need to keep your system healthy. Foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and legumes have what you need to fight against harmful pathogens in your body. The antioxidants in these foods work as anti-inflammatory fighters in your body, fighting against compound free radicals that make you sick. Whole plant foods are also rich sources of fiber, which helps you regulate weight by regularly keeping you. There’s nothing worse than having to sit on the toilet all day because of constipation.
These foods will do more than help you fight against the cold and flu because they help to keep your immune system healthy. They’ll also help you fight against heart disease and certain cancers, which need inflammation to grow. Furthermore, many whole plant foods are rich in vitamin C, which helps repair the cell walls when they become damaged, allowing you to heal much faster from injuries and disease. Another reason is that the fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome. That helps your body fight against harmful pathogens in your digestive tract.
Have you ever been put under much stress, such as having a large project at work, and then once it’s all over, you become sick with a cold? This notion is because stress is known to decrease your immunity, creating more problems within your system, leading you to become more prone to getting sick. However, long-term stress can be more harmful to your body because of the always-elevated levels of the steroid hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the fight-or-flight hormone released by the body when it senses that you’re in danger. It interacts with your blood pressure and blood sugar and helps maintain your sleep/wake cycle. Thus, if your cortisol levels are always high, your body will be significantly affected.
It’s normal (and healthy) to have higher cortisol levels when you’re under stress for a short period, but it can damage your immune system when it’s continuously elevated. When this happens, your immune system can’t kick itself into gear to fight off the harmful germs. Therefore, if you frequently find yourself under high-stress levels, you need to find a way to decrease your stress with techniques like meditation, listening to soothing music, journaling, taking a nap, or doing something that you enjoy.
It’s easy to stay in one spot during the day, primarily when you work in an office or can’t get out much because of the current crisis. However, it would help if you tried to do everything you can to get some exercise as the more you do, the stronger your immune system will become. Even if you can’t run away to the gym, think about activities you can do around your home. Anything from vacuuming to taking care of the dishes to walking up and down the stairs in your home is better than being sedentary. Give your butt a break and become more active in your home so that you’ll stop putting on those unnecessary pounds.
One study completed in 2019 proved that moderate exercise mobilizes immune system cells. It allows the body to defend itself against harmful pathogens and even some cancer cells. Exercise also helps decrease the inflammation in your body to a more healthy level. While you don’t need to engage in a vigorous activity like running (doing this too much can weaken your immune system), you do want to ensure that you’re pushing yourself a bit now and then. For example, extend your walks every month or do a few more sit-ups.
One of the many vital vitamins your body needs every day is D. One of the greatest ways to get yourself vitamin D is by going outside and basking in the sun. You don’t need to do anything special, such as exercising or having a picnic, unless you want to. However, you do need to sit in the sun. Feel the warmth of the sun as your body takes in vitamin D. Getting some sunlight is also pretty great for your bones because vitamin D helps your body with the absorption of calcium.
Calcium is one of the primary components of healthy bones and teeth, so a daily dose of vitamin D can help you fend off osteoporosis, brittle bone disease, and weakened teeth. You don’t need to sit outside so long that your skin burns, just long enough to get your body what it needs. Vitamin D is essential when fighting off infections because it helps produce antibodies that boost your immune system. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, you’ll have a higher chance of getting sick with a respiratory illness.
You’ve always been told that you need to limit the number of fats you consume, but this isn’t necessarily true. You don’t want to put many bad fats into your body, such as fast food, but you want to put a lot of healthy fats into your body. Healthy fat is what your body needs for fuel, and ensuring it gets the right amount will increase your energy and boost your immune system. Besides, healthy fats are also used up more quickly and won’t sit around, helping you put on the pounds.
Did you know that there are healthy fats are in oils (olive oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil, etc.), nuts, seeds, and salmon? Eating these foods gives your body pathogens so that it can decrease the inflammation in your system. Olive oil is one of the best oils to help fight infections, as well as chia seeds and Omega-3 fatty acids. You can find the best Omega-3 fatty acids in certain fish, such as salmon, sardine, canned tuna, and herring. That’s not to say that you should be eating these fish for every single meal, but having one serving of fatty fish once a week is enough.
When you drink more alcohol than you should, you have a range of adverse health effects, such as lowering your body’s immune system function. You become more prone to illness because inflammation increases. High levels of alcohol also weaken your body’s chance of fighting off the infection, meaning you’ll be sick for a more extended period. Most alcohol is quite full of carbs, too, especially beer. That’s why those who drink lots of beer in one sitting tend to develop “beer guts” and put on more weight.
A good rule of thumb is to follow the “4-ounce glass of wine a day” trick or simply have a little alcohol once a week or less. Even when you go out for a drink with a friend, watch how much you consume as you can make your body more susceptible to disease, including certain cancers, pneumonia, and respiratory infections. Not only is alcohol bad for the systems in your body, but it also impairs brain functions, reducing your ability to react, speak properly, or maintain balance. That’s why you should never drink and drive.
There are days that you’ll find you’re more stressed than usual. This emotion is expected, but it’s important not to let your body feel the stress for a long time. You already know about controlling your stress, so it’s time to get into a routine where you can limit the amount of stress your immune system feels, and one way to do this is to take a relaxing bath every day. Of course, it’s easier to shower but try a bath if you struggle to control your stress. The process of filling the bathtub will help you slow down your day and give you time to relax.
Not only do you want to make it a nice and hot bath, but you also want to add some relaxing aromatherapy scents and Epsom salt. According to Mother Earth News, ensuring that your body takes time to relax during the day “activates the stress response, depresses immune function, and elevates inflammatory chemicals.” In addition to some aromatherapy, play some relaxing and peaceful music as well. Choose some spa music on the radio, close your bathroom door, and allow all of your senses to just melt away into the moment.
Cigarettes are like alcohol when it comes to your immune system. They will affect your health because anything toxic to your body can cause inflammation in your system. It is more of a fact when it comes to cigarettes because certain chemicals, such as nicotine, cadmium, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, interfere with the function of your white blood cells. Those who smoke regularly tend to be more prone to pneumonia, and it becomes almost impossible for them to recover from this horrible infection.
Also, smoking makes the smoker an excellent target for lung and throat cancer, two of the cancers that result in the most deaths. Furthermore, when you are sick and smoke, you’ll find yourself feeling worse because it worsens your body’s infection, especially if you have an infection in your lungs. Smoking is also jeopardizing for those who live with you too. They are inhaling cigarette smoke, which can lead to asthma and bronchitis issues in the future. Fortunately, there are many resources available to you if you smoke. You can quit and lead a healthier life.
You know how important it is to drink water. You’ve probably heard how you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. You might note if you drink this amount of water or you might not pay close attention. However, once you learn that the more water you drink, the better your immune system will work, you might ensure you drink enough water every day. Don’t drink too much, however; everything should be done in moderation. Drinking too much water can thin out your blood and make your health worse.
The key is to prevent your system from becoming dehydrated, which will cause more inflammation and leave you susceptible to illnesses. One of the first signs of dehydration is a headache, which can hinder your performance and cause you to struggle to focus on your work. Yes, tea and coffee will help keep you hydrated, but you want to limit your sugar intake because that’ll cause your system to become more dehydrated and add unnecessary calories to your drink.
Keep Your Symptoms Of Chronic Conditions Under Control
If you’re like most of the population, you have some type of chronic condition that you need to manage every day, such as asthma, a heart condition, or diabetes. One way to give yourself the best chance of keeping colds, cases of flu, and other illnesses away is to keep your chronic condition symptoms under control. Of course, this isn’t something that you can continuously do as sometimes you’ll have a spike in symptoms. However, as long as you keep going to the doctor as you should and follow their guidelines, you’ll find that you can keep the symptoms under control regularly.
It’s also a good idea to avoid conditions and elements that may trigger these conditions, whether allergens, sweet foods, or avoiding exercise. Always follow your doctor’s recommended advice in keeping your ailments under control so that your immune system isn’t always having to work overtime. According to a study published in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, people who struggle with asthma have a higher chance of getting the flu. When they do, their symptoms are more severe. Along with this, chronic conditions make it harder for you to recover from another illness, even if it’s the common cold.
You’ve heard the phrase that cleanliness is next to Godliness. It’s also an essential step in keeping yourself healthy. Of course, you know the guidelines for proper handwashing by now and how important it is to keep your hands clean so you don’t get sick. Use an antibacterial soap as often as you can, and wash your hands when you come in from outside and after you use the bathroom. However, hygiene goes further than washing your hands.
You want to make sure that your environment is clean, so you’re not living in a place with old food on the counter. You also want to take a bath or shower regularly, wash your hair, and wash your face every day. It’s also helpful to take time to scrub up your arm during your day when washing your hands. Take care of your home, too, by vacuuming regularly and dusting your home to remove allergens and sources of bacteria and mold that could make you sick in the future if left unchecked.
You know that you need to get specific vitamins into your body every day. However, you also need other nutrients, and sometimes you can’t always get them by going outside or eating certain foods. Therefore, you want to take supplements to ensure you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need. At the same time, you can’t only focus on consuming a variety of supplements. Supplements aren’t a miracle cure if you’re not taking other steps to help your body stay healthy.
The key to remember is that supplements won’t always work to prevent all diseases. Some diseases are just too strong that not even your robust immune system can handle them independently. Certain illnesses change rapidly, so scientists can’t study how well supplements work for all colds. However, they know that you need nutrients like Elderberry, Zinc, Garlic, and vitamins to keep your immune system strong, so supplements will help you stay as healthy as possible. However, if you do find yourself dreadfully sick, it’s vital that you seek medical attention as soon as you can.
New studies suggest that adding sugar to your foods can cause you to gain weight. In response, you can start to gain weight because the more sugar you eat, the more weight you might gain. It’s also known that the more overweight you are, the more often you can become sick. That is because their body is on overdrive to try and maintain the rest of the body’s systems, leaving it more vulnerable to diseases and illnesses. Studies show that obese people are twice as likely to get the flu after getting the flu vaccine.
When you decrease or stop adding sugar, you’ll start to lose weight. That helps you manage any illnesses, including chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. The key is to limit your sugar to less than 5% of your daily calorie intake. So, if you follow the regular 2,000 calorie diet, you’ll only eat about two tablespoons or 25 mg of sugar every day. Avoid sugary drinks and sodas, sugary-filled snack foods, and reduce the amount of sugar you add to your coffee or tea. Every step you take to eliminate sugar brings you one step closer to having a stronger immune system.
Many herbs are good for your health, and some will even help boost your immune system. That is excellent news for people who don’t want to take supplements because instead of buying certain herbs in pill form, you can buy them fresh, dried, and add them to your food. The trick is to make sure you understand what herbs can improve your health and what is best for flavoring. It’s also important to know how much you should add to your food and any interactions between these herbs and any other medications you’re currently taking. The last thing you want is to end up making your health even worse.
Some of the best herbs to buy are andrographis, AHCC, astragalus, echinacea, and elderberry. They’re all known to boost your immune system, which helps you fight off illnesses like colds, but they also decrease the amount of time you’re sick. It’s important to note that some of this information can change over time because the scientific studies are new, so much research is needed to support the previous reviews and look into other herbs.
You know that exercise is essential in your life and that it helps boost your immune system. Nevertheless, some people struggle with the thought of exercise. Therefore, it’s also important to note that you can take out that word and boost your immune system by just walking for about 20 minutes every day. While this is a form of exercise, it can also be relaxing and fun, especially if you take your dog for a walk or go with friends.
You don’t need to walk at a fast pace. Walk at a rate that’s comfortable for you. You can do this as you’re going grocery shopping or on a hiking trail. You can even find yourself walking around your home without stopping for 20 minutes if the weather is too cold outside. The key is to keep the pace you start and don’t stop for at least 20 minutes. Want a more significant boost to your walking routine inside your home? Wheel your vacuum cleaner around just to add a little resistance and getting your heart pumping a little more challenging.
Your mental health is essential when it comes to boosting your immune system. Look at it this way – when you struggle mentally, you don’t take care of yourself. You may lose the drive to shower, brush your teeth, or do your laundry. That creates a hostile environment that is not only bad for your mind but bad for your body as well. This action also causes you to eat foods that aren’t good for your immune system, causing it to weaken. You will find yourself becoming sick easier, and you’ll also be ill for a more extended period if you don’t ensure that your mental health is on a positive and healthy track.
If you struggle with depression or other mental health issues, it’s okay to seek help. It’s one of the first steps in making sure you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy, and it shows the strength you have. Remain on any medications a doctor may prescribe you for your mental health. Other ways to focus on your mental health are self-care: getting enough sleep, eating right, and positive thinking. The more positive you feel, the healthier you’ll become.
Let’s talk about a big elephant in the room and how often we push aside our health check-ups. It’s essential to keep up to date on your check-ups as it helps your doctors keep you healthy. Your doctor will be able to see if any mysteries may be affecting your health before they become an issue too big to deal with. The healthier you are, the stronger your immune system will become, so ignoring your doctor is only hurting your immune system.
Going to the doctor to ensure you’re staying healthy is a natural part of life. It’s another step that you can take to keep yourself from getting sick often or limit your chances of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease because doctors can help you keep these symptoms under control. Moreover, going regularly teaches your children and the rest of your family that there’s no need to fear going to the doctor; they’re only there to help you, not scare you.
These can be quite stinky in your food and on your breath. However, onions and garlic are quite useful for your immune system. Adding just a little to the pan while cooking meat or rice will give everything a wonderful flavor. Cook some minced garlic in some tomato sauce if you want to hide the taste and the smell. Instead of putting raw onion on your burger, mince it up and mix it with your ground beef while you’re making patties so that they’re fully cooked throughout your burger.
The great thing about onions and garlic is that they’re antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal: perfect against everything that would make you sick! Having them in your diet helps your gut bacteria to flourish so that they can do their job correctly. Furthermore, with a healthy dose of fiber to the mix, they can help you maintain a healthy weight in the long run. Whether they’re cooked or raw, onions, garlic, shallots, or leeks are foods you should be adding to your daily diet to promote your immune system.
When you get sick, blowing your nose can feel like a relief. Getting out all of that mucus and relieving your sinus pressure makes you feel that much better. Nevertheless, before you get sick, there are steps you can take to keep your nasal passages clear of bacteria and viruses that could make you sick. One such way is to use a Neti pot. What’s great about it is that it doesn’t have any moving parts or side effects if used properly.
Just fill the Neti pot with clean, warm tap water and add a powdered saline solution that you can find at almost any store that’s formulated to be used with a Neti pot. The pot itself will look like a tiny teapot; just place the end up one nostril, tilt your head over a sink, and pour. It’s going to feel a bit strange to have water going up your nose, but remember to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. Inhaling any of the water could lead to you drowning.
There are just some instances where we can’t wash our hands after touching things, which is being out in public. If you were to wash your hands after going into every single store, you wouldn’t have a lot of time to do any shopping. To save you the trouble, you can keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or purse to help you out. It doesn’t make your hands clean, but it does kill any germs or viruses that could be on them.
There are plenty of companies out there providing small bottles of portable hand sanitizer that people can carry around with them wherever they go. Always choose one that has at least 90% alcohol. As a bonus, look for sanitizers that are moisturizing for the skin as well. Alcohol is known to dry out the skin, and that can be bad for you during winter. Having a little bottle of the stuff is better than having nothing at all to keep your hands sanitized.
Not everyone is a big fan of mushrooms. Whether it’s the taste or the texture, it can be difficult to sway people over to ingesting the fungus they’ve seen grow on dead trees and logs. However, the majority of mushrooms that are safe to eat are relatively healthy for you. That’s because they’re filled with polysaccharides called beta-glucans that have been shown to boost the immune system and prevent infections from occurring. Although you may think that ordering mushrooms on your pizza will give you everything you need, that’s not the case, unfortunately.
To reap the rewards that mushrooms have to offer, they have to be washed and eaten raw. One good idea is to slice them up and add them to a salad with a dressing. It may take some getting used to the texture, but when you focus on how much you’re helping your body, you will probably learn to overlook it eventually. Besides, there are beta-glucans supplements that you can take if you still can’t get over your hang-ups with mushrooms.
Create A Barrier Between Your Skin and Infected Objects
If you’re keen on washing your hands as few times as possible in a given day, then you can consider adding gloves to your daily routine. Soft cotton gloves, silk, or just plain disposable gloves, act as a superior barrier between your hands and the things that you’re touching. You may be surprised at just how less sick you get each year when you wear gloves while out and about. Your immune system will thank you for it.
That is because people don’t consider all of the things that they’re touching: doorknobs/door handles, handrails on stairs, merchandise, and more. Other people have felt those things too, and you have no way of knowing where their hands have been. It’s even worse if you work in an office environment, as there is plenty of office equipment that other people are touching too, like copy machines, printers, and the resident office coffee maker.
Not many people have heard of fire cider. It’s a warm drink containing many more powerful anti-microbial and decongestant herbs and spices. Be prepared for a drink that’s not only hot in temperature but also flavor. That’s because this cider contains horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and hot peppers. It is not something to squirm away from because it will kick your immune system into high gear and keep those sinuses clear. Thankfully, you don’t have to drink a lot of this to receive its powerful effects.
Add all of the herbs and spices to apple cider vinegar. Keep it in a dark cupboard for at least a month. That will extract all of the beneficial properties from them and infuse the vinegar with them. Once it’s finished brewing, just add a tablespoon of the cider to your diet every day. Your immune system will be better than you ever thought it could be. Not only that, it’s a great way to warm you up during those winter days and keep those runny noses away.
We all turn to soups when we’re sick. Why? The rising steam helps clear our runny noses and sooth a sore throat. They are also easy to eat. Plus, the warmth makes people feel better. Nevertheless, you could get ahead of the “getting sick” game and start eating more soups before you get sick. That’s because the immune system relies on glutamine, a substance present in protein-based foods. Without it in your diet, your immune system will take the glutamine from your skeletal muscles, depleting them. Some studies have shown that those who had glutamine regularly in their diet were less likely to experience upper respiratory infections.
Look at soup stocks and broths made from free-range chicken and grass-fed beef. Try to have at least a cup of broth per day to boost your immune system. You can choose to drink it straight. Alternatively, you can cook your rice in broth instead of water. That way, you will infuse all of that glutamine goodness into your meal. If this is too much trouble for you, you can go the easy route and take glutamine supplements instead.
Thieves’ oil isn’t just an extract from one plant. Instead, it is an oil made from several plants. More importantly, this oil helps boost the immune system. If you do get sick, it can help reduce symptoms. Thieves’ oil is made from cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and clove. In 1997, a study at Weber State University revealed that the oil was 99% effective against airborne bacteria. In turn, people started using it to treat colds and the flu. What’s great about the oil is that it’s straightforward to make at home.
Not only can it be used in your diet, but Thieves can also be sprayed on your countertops. It can kill any lingering, festering bacteria. A few drops added to coconut oil or your favorite lotion. Then, apply it to the chest. You will notice this oil can help relieve congestion and soothe sore throats. It’s not recommended that you ingest Thieves’ oil. Why? Because clove and eucalyptus extracts can be both irritating and toxic to your digestive system.
“9 Ways to Boost Your Body’s Natural Defenses.” SaVanna Shoemaker, Healthline. April 2020.
“7 Ways to Keep Your Immune System Healthy.” Lauren Bedosky, Everyday Health. March 2020.
“How to boost your immune system.” Harvard Health. September 2014.
“12 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System.” Sarah Stevenson, A Place For Mom. February 2015.
“6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally.” Cathy Wong, Very Well Health. April 2020.