These days, a weak immune system is not something you want. In 2020, it really pays to know how to keep your immune system running in tip top condition. In the fall and winter months it feels as though it’s harder to stay fit and healthy – and harder to stay away from cold and flu viruses floating around. Luckily, it is very easy and possible to do simple things that will boost your immune system. We all know that washing our hands and staying away from sick people are sure ways to keep from getting sick yourself, but there are a few more things that people can do for their immunity.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Imagine your body is a computer. If you don’t let it rest, reset and sleep, it gets overheated easily. Our bodies are the same way. The more we push our bodies without the proper rest and relaxation, the harder it is for it to function properly. Sleeping is our bodies’ number one way of resetting its system – especially the immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick
While many wouldn’t believe that exercise and immunity go hand in hand, staying active is actually a huge key to avoiding sickness. According to research, when you work out your body circulates antibodies and white blood cells more rapidly. This means if a virus enters your body, those white blood cells and antibodies find and eliminate those bugs more quickly. Another plus to working out is that scientists believe that raising your body temperature can also help kill germs. However, make sure you aren’t overdoing your sweat session. And if you have underlying conditions, please consult a physician if you want to start a new exercise regimen.
Watch Your Diet
Since sleep and exercise help, the diet portion of these tips probably don’t come as a surprise. But what you put in your body is extremely important for your immune system. “Eighty percent of your immune system is in the gut, so when it’s healthy, we tend to be able to fight off infections faster and better,” says Yufang Lin, M.D., of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “When it’s not, our immune system is weaker and more susceptible to fighting off infection.” So what is best for gut health? Many doctors recommend a Mediterranean style diet, especially for adults between 65-79. The Mediterranean diet is packed with Vitamin C, zinc and antioxidants which help support a strong immune system.
Keep Stress to a Minimum
This one may be easier said than done, but mental health and physical health often go hand in hand. This type of tip is going to work differently in every person. What is a stressful situation for one person, is perfectly normal to the next person. So it’s best to know where your stress baseline is. Doctors have begun to appreciate the connection between mind and body more than ever and recognize that high stress can take a toll on the immune system. In this day and age, everything can seem stressful, so if you find yourself overwhelmed, it’s best to consult a mental health professional or physician to see if there are ways to cut out unnecessary stress from your life or learn how to cope with the stress you can’t cut.
Increase Immunity the Healthy Way
Walking through a store or pharmacy, you may notice many supplements claiming to boost the immune system. But according to one Harvard study, “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.” So while it may not necessarily be harmful to add a natural supplement, really these claims are baseless and not much is yet known. It’s important to focus on maintaining a healthy diet, get sleep, and stay active to help support the ever growing needs of the immune system.