The cold and flu season is here. Do you want to fight off that illness that’s spreading around your child’s school or the office? Boosting your immune system is a great way to start.
These 8 natural immune system boosters are easy to incorporate and will help you stay healthy and active this winter season!
1. Eat Right
While no single food will magically fend off the flu, certain nutrients can help protect your body from billions of bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Some nutrients and foods that researchers have found to enhance the immune system include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in nuts, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and flaxseed oil
- Zinc-rich foods, like oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, and chickpeas
- Selenium-rich foods, such as broccoli, sardines, tuna, brazil nuts, and barley
- Vitamin C-rich foods, like strawberries, papaya, brussel sprouts, kale, and citrus fruits
- Vitamin E-rich foods, including almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
2. Eat More Mushrooms
The only possible exception to #1 above is mushrooms. Whatever variety you choose – enoki, shiitake, maitake, reishi, or oyster – Japanese mushrooms are a great immunity booster. They contain beta-glucans (complex carbohydrates) that enhance immune activity against infections, as well as ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that does not get destroyed during the cooking process.
3. Exercise Regularly
Getting 30 minutes of daily physical activity can strengthen many defenses of the immune system. Exercise gets antibodies and white blood cells moving through the body faster, so they may detect illnesses sooner. Additionally, an increase in circulation may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding pathogens.
4. Manage Your Stress
When you are chronically stressed, your body churns out hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline) which, according to the National Institutes of Health, tax your immune system and can raise your risk of the common cold and other viruses. Take time out of your day to do a relaxing activity you enjoy. In fact, research shows that stress-reducing activities, such as meditation, produce positive changes in the immune system.
5. Drink Water
Water helps to cleanse the body and remove toxins, including germs. By keeping body systems— especially the respiratory system—well-hydrated, you can enhance your cold-fighting potential.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sufficient, deep sleep stimulates the immune system, while sleep deprivation has the opposite effect. In fact, according to a sleep study published in 2001 in the journal Seminars in Clinical Neuropsychiatry, significant detrimental effects on immune functioning can be seen after just a few days of total sleep deprivation or even several days of partial sleep deprivation. The average adult should be getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
7. Boost Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a number of roles in promoting normal immune function. Unfortunately, nearly one-third of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. Very few foods contain much vitamin D, so your best bet is to take a supplement containing Vitamin D. BrainMD Health’s own NeuroVite Plus combines more than 50 nutrients, including Vitamin D, and plant extracts in their most active forms to give you whole body-mind nutrition in a way that drugstore multivitamins cannot do.
8. Make More Love
Science shows that intimate, sexual relationships have immune system perks. According to gynecologist Dr. Dudley Chapman, orgasms boost infection-fighting cells up to 20%. A study done at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that students who had regular sexual activity had a third higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that boosts the immune system and can help fight colds and flu.
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