When cold and flu season hits, there’s always that one guy or gal who stands tall while everyone else is home in bed. It makes you wonder why some people seem to catch every virus, while others never get sick. You might be willing to try anything to boost the immune system, especially if you’re the one who catches every bug that comes around!
To make matters worse, there are new viruses making their way into our country all the time. The latest threat is a deadly coronavirus from Wuhan, China. This new virus attacks the respiratory system and is easily spread through coughing.
At the time of this writing, there are more than 500 people infected in China, and 17 have died. The virus has already spread to the US and is showing all the signs of becoming a global health emergency.
So, how do you become one of those people who almost never gets sick? You’ve probably already guessed that it all comes down to the immune system. Although having a stronger immune system won’t make you invincible to viruses, it will certainly tip the odds in your favor!
Thankfully, there are several healthy lifestyle changes you can make to protect yourself from illness. Here are nine simple and natural, proactive ways to boost the immune system and kick viruses to the curb!
9 Fail-Proof, Proactive Ways to Boost the Immune System
1. Remember Your A, B, C, D, and Es
What does the alphabet have to do with boosting the immune system? A lot, when it comes to meeting your nutritional needs! Providing your body with the raw materials it needs to boost the immune system and keep it strong is crucial for kicking viruses to the curb.
Vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E are all necessary for keeping the immune system strong. No matter how careful you are with your diet, there will be days when you don’t get enough of certain nutrients. Taking a personalized multivitamin each day is a smart and easy way to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet and boost the immune system.
2. Eat More Foods That Boost Your Immune System
Of course, you should try to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. However, there are certain foods that can be especially helpful for keeping the immune system strong.
Here’s what to add to your grocery list to boost the immune system:
Citrus Fruits for Vitamin C
Broccoli for Vitamins A, C, and E plus Antioxidants
Red and Yellow Bell Peppers for Vitamin C
Garlic (Contains Sulfur Compounds That Fight Infection and Support the Immune System)
Ginger (Supports the Immune System by Fighting Inflammation)
Spinach for Vitamins A and C plus Antioxidants
Greek Yogurt for Vitamin D and Probiotics
Almonds for Vitamin E
Turmeric (Supports the Immune System by Fighting Inflammation)
Green Tea (Contains Powerful Antioxidants That Enhance Immune Function)
Papaya for Vitamins A, B, and C plus Digestive Enzymes That Fight Inflammation
Kiwi for Vitamins C and K, Folate and Potassium
Poultry for Vitamin B6
Sunflower Seeds for Vitamins B6 and E plus Phosphorous and Magnesium
Shellfish (Crab, Clams, Lobster, and Mussels are Rich in Zinc Which is Important for Immune Cell Function)
3. Manage Your Stress Levels
When the body is in a state of stress, it releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone interferes with the ability of certain white blood cells (called T-cells) to reproduce and receive important signals from the brain. Cortisol also interferes with the release of antibodies that defend our bodies against pathogens.
Keeping your stress levels in check is crucial for a healthy immune system. There are many healthy ways to manage stress, including exercise, yoga, acupuncture, and creative hobbies.
4. Stay Active
Exercise is a scientifically proven way to give your immune system a boost. It mobilizes those all-important T-cells, which fight off infections and viruses. Just be careful not to overdo it! Repeated rigorous exercise produces cortisol, which is no good for your immune system.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Being sleep deprived can trigger an inflammatory immune response, which weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and infections. Getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night is important for keeping illness at bay.
6. Quit Smoking
There are tons of reasons to stop smoking, with an increased risk of cancer being pretty high on the list. Smoking also impairs the immune system, weakening your defenses and leaving you prone to pathogens and viruses.
7. Try Medicinal Mushrooms
Mushrooms are full of minerals and other nutrients your body needs for better health, but their benefit doesn’t end there. Science has discovered that many types of mushrooms actually contain compounds that are extremely beneficial for the immune system and even fight cancer.
Chaga, turkey tail, maitake, and shiitake are great for boosting the immune system. Use them in your cooking or mix the powder into your beverages for a potent immune system boost.
8. Get Some Sunshine
Getting some sunshine can give your immune system a boost by allowing your body to produce its own Vitamin D. This important vitamin not only supports the immune system, but it’s also necessary for the production of antibodies that fight viruses and infections.
Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to respiratory issues. Try to get 10 or 15 minutes of sunshine each day to ensure that your body is producing enough Vitamin D.
9. Support Your Immune System with Herbs
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain herbs are extremely beneficial for the immune system. Echinacea is one of the most popular for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Elderberries are said to fight flu symptoms and inflammation. And, don’t forget, we’ve already added ginger and garlic to your shopping list!
Taking these proactive steps is a great way to give your immune system a boost in a safe and natural way. A stronger immune system not only keeps colds and flu away, but it may also prevent more serious diseases like cancer and heart disease. As an added bonus, boosting the immune system with these healthy lifestyle changes will improve the way you feel overall from day to day.