How to Boost Your Immune System in 5 Simple Steps
Tired of getting sick all the time? Watery eyes, sore throat – yep, you’re coming down with something.
But some people seem to get sick far more often than others. Part of this may have to do with a genetically lagging immune system. A lot of it, though, probably has to do with lifestyle.
There are several simple steps you can take to boost your immune system. Unsurprisingly, these changes also coincide with enhanced overall health.
If you find yourself getting a cold every time flu season rolls around, you should probably consider making some of these changes.
With a little effort, you can aid your body’s ability to fight infection. You might even find your fitness levels rising with some of these changes as well.
Change Your Eating Habits
Changing what you put into your body is one of the first ways to improve the way your body reacts and adapts to bacteria and viruses.
Most people know that regularly eating junk food is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your health. This is obvious, right? But boosting your immune system means prioritising some foods over others.
The following list of foods are all effective at enhancing your immune system and aiding your body’s recovery when you’re sick:
- Chicken or turkey (usually in soup form)
- Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes, clementines, etc.)
- Green Tea
You won’t have to change your diet to boost your immune system drastically. All you have to do is start prioritising foods that will assist your body’s recovery and illness prevention.
Bring a Jacket!
The adage of, “Bring a jacket, you’ll catch a cold” is more than just parental nagging. There is a fair amount of evidence suggesting staying warm in the cold will help protect your body against viruses.
Viruses thrive in cold weather. At the same time, our immune systems start to lag when we’re out in the cold for extended periods.
Stay warm when you can, especially when winter hits. It’s no coincidence that flu season coincides with cold weather. Our immune systems are compromised, and viruses can live longer and travel further.
When you’re at home, keep your extremities warms as well. If your body temperature dips too low, your immune system will take a hit.
Go to the Gym
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. This strategy tackles immune system responses from a few different angles.
First, acute exercise produces heat shock proteins, which play a role in our body’s ability to fight sickness and disease. If you continue to exercise, kick up the intensity, and begin to change your body, your immune system will similarly develop.
Those who live a healthy lifestyle don’t get colds and other illnesses as often. It’s a simple concept, but going to the gym – as opposed to jogging outside – may give you even more tools to fight harmful bacteria.
Gyms are hot-spots for bacteria. Everyone is touching everything, and fewer people wash their hands than you’d like.
Fortunately, the exposure to this bacteria can boost your immune system in the long-run. The more times you encounter harmful bacteria, the better your immune system gets at attacking it.
General exercise is beneficial on its own, but going to the gym provides even more benefits when it comes to naturally boosting your immune system.
Increase Your Rest
Rest has a lot to do with your immune system as well. An active person might be decreasing their risk of getting a cold through exercise, but too much of a good thing will have the opposite effect.
If you don’t rest enough between your workout sessions or exercise for too long, your immune system will start to take a hit.
Exercise addiction is one of the best addictions a person can have, but it has its downsides. If you exercise every day without ever taking time off, you’ll start to notice diminishing returns.
Your muscles won’t recover as quickly as you need them to, and you won’t lose fat and gain muscle like those who rest for two or three days in a week.
Additionally, your immune system will needs time out, so if you don’t schedule in rest time, you might start contracting colds more frequently.
Sleep More Often
Like rest, sleep is the main component in boosting your immune system. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t be in a place where it can sufficiently fight viruses.
When you’re asleep, your immune system produces cytokines which help your body and mind stay asleep. When you’re sick, your immune system needs to create more of these proteins to fight off the virus.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your colds are going to last longer than they should. If you sleep more frequently when you’re sick, you’ll likely recover much sooner.
A long-term loss of sleep can lead to other health problems as well. These health problems indirectly lower your immune system. In short: make sure you get enough sleep, especially if you’re sick.