Just in Time for Flu Season: 7 Tips to Boost Immunity
As the seasons begin to shift, colder weather is right around the corner so most of us will soon take to the indoors to stay warm. And as we spend more time inside, we become exposed to the contagious germs that lead to colds and flu.
This year, instead of resigning yourself to a miserable bug, take a stand by boosting your immune system against the nasty viruses and bacteria that send you to your sickbed.
Here are seven ways you can help your immune system stay strong and healthy during cold and flu season:
1. Cleanse and Nourish Your Gut
Most people don’t realize that a full 80 percent of your immune system actually resides in your digestive tract. Hence why it’s so important to rid your body of harmful toxins and waste products, in order to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut that fight off harmful bugs and crowd out the bad bacteria.
2. Keep Stress Levels Under Control
There is more and more research showing that living under constant stress can weaken your immune system, making you more prone to disease and illness. While it may be nearly impossible to live a totally stress-free life, you can take some steps to counteract the negative effects of stress. Daily meditation at home, exercise, socializing with friends and a good night’s sleep are all safe, natural ways to maintain balance in your life that will help keep anxiety at bay. Discover other health-damaging effects of stress in our article 12 Things Stress is Doing to Your Brain.
3. Exercise Daily
Exercise produces great benefits and is important for overall good health. It’s been shown to help you maintain cardiovascular health, a healthy weight and keep bones and joints strong. Because exercise improves healthy circulation, it brings nutrients to your hard-working immune cells while helping them move through your body to do their job.
4. Eat for Immunity
Research has shown that a diet lacking in healthy protein can result in a deficiency in the number of disease-fighting immune cells throughout the body. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also needed for essential vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that immune cells need for growth and optimal functioning. Be sure your diet contains healthy protein from fish, chicken and other lean meats along with immune-boosting zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E that are found in fruits and vegetables. Learn more about how to eat your way to top-notch immune health in our article 10 Foods For Optimal Immune Health This Season.
5. Look on the Bright Side
Having a positive outlook is not just beneficial for your mental and emotional health — when scientists tested first-semester law students they found that the students who were more optimistic had more helper T cells mid semester, which can amplify immune response, and more powerful natural killer cells, than those who had a more pessimistic perspective. If you need help in being more optimistic, try thinking of one reason every day that you’re lucky to be you. Once you begin doing this, you’ll realize there are many.
6. Consider Supplementing with Natural Herbs
When you feel the first signs of a bug coming on, reach for a natural remedy to give your system a germ-fighting boost. A few of the more popular immune boosters for colds and flu include astragalus, echinacea and olive leaf, which have all been used and recommended by natural healers for years.
7. Minimize Your Contact with Germ Hotbeds
The bank ATM, public vending machines and retail counters are rife with contagious germs from countless users. If you don’t have immediate access to a washroom after use, be sure to carry a natural hand sanitizer to use after exposure to public places or when handling money. Carrying your own pen will also help reduce your exposure to germs. Simply pull it out of your pocket or handbag rather than using the one provided by the waiter, retail establishment or doctor’s office.
Try giving these seven immune-boosting tips a try and see if you sail through cold and flu season with barely a sneeze. And check out what else you can do to rev-up your immune system in our article How to Boost Your Immunity for the Upcoming Season.