The subject of boosting your immune system is on everyone’s minds these days. The chances of you catching a cold or the flu increase as your body experiences a roller coaster of temperatures. Your immune system may be weaker after the winter. Your immune system is the most important part of your body when it comes to staying healthy and fighting off illnesses. Winter can often leave our immune system weak and depleted. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the flu or common cold, but ensuring that your immune system is strong may help prevent illness. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to prepare your immune system for the transition from winter to springtime.
Here are eight simple ways to boost your immune system just in time for the new season:
1. DRAW THE LINE WITH SUGAR
Refined sugars have never had a great reputation when it comes to your overall health, but did you know that they negatively impact the body’s defense structure? Sugars have the ability to destroy the immune system because they increase inflammation and damage cells. Avoid refined sugars as much as possible. To curb a sweet craving, eat more foods with natural sugars that are balanced out with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
2. EAT HEALTHY
Having a balanced diet is the key to boosting your immune system, it needs to be fueled correctly. Removing refined, processed items from your diet and replacing them with nutritious, natural choices will give your immune system the fuel it needs to thrive properly. It is important to follow a healthy balanced diet that includes all of the main food groups. These foods give us the essential nutrients we need to maintain a fully functioning immune system. Eat foods high in nutrients, like vitamins A, C, D, and E. You should also focus on eating foods with protein.
3. TAKE PROBIOTICS
Healthy gut bacteria is a great way to ensure a strong immune system. Eighty percent of the immune system resides in the digestive system, which makes maintaining digestive health the key to a strong defense system. Probiotics are good bacteria that can be found in whole and fermented foods. Taking probiotics every day can regulate your digestive tract. Talk to your doctor about taking probiotics and other options for keeping your gut healthy.
4. GET YOUR VITAMIN D
When warmer weather sets in, it is very important that you go outside as much as possible. The sun helps you with the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a large role in keeping your defense system strong. The daily amount of vitamin D you need depends on your age. Adults aged 19 to 70 should get 600 IU per day, while adults 71 and older should get 800 IU per day. Most people can acquire the daily amount through sun exposure, but others may need more. Reach out to your doctor if you’re unsure, as he or she can recommend vitamin D-rich foods or supplements. Remember to take care of your skin. You should never go out in the sun if you are not wearing proper protection. If you are unable to get outside, ask your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement.
5. LET STRESS GO
High stress levels can compromise your immune system. Although you may not be able to remove all the cause of stress in your daily life, you can listen to your body. Stress management is critical, not only for mental wellness, but also for a strong immune system. As the season changes, find ways to keep your stress levels down. Activities like reading, having a bath, walking, yoga, and meditation can be effective in releasing tension and stress. Simply having some fun can do wonders for your health and your immune system.
6. EXERCISE OFTEN
It is difficult to go to the gym in the winter, let alone get out of the house. By exercising on a regular basis, you’ll improve your sleep quality, lower your blood pressure, maintain your weight and strengthen your immune system to ward off various diseases and illnesses. Exercise has been known to increase the immune function and improve your quality of sleep. This spring, take advantage of the warm weather and go on more walks, jogs and hikes. Always consult with your doctor on the proper exercises that will benefit you.
7. GET YOUR Z’S
Fatigue is known to increase the risk of illness. Your body does most of its repairs during sleep. Without enough sleep, your body doesn’t have the chance to recover from the day and recharge for the next. A well-rested body is a body that can fight infection faster. To be well-rested, older adults should get at lease seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you don’t normally hit these numbers, consider taking a nap during the day. You’d be surprise what a 20-minute power nap can do.
Water helps produce lymph, which carries the white blood cells and immune system cells. By drinking water throughout the day, you’ll transport all of the vital vitamins and nutrients your body needs to thrive. Generally, you should be drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, but your doctor may suggest more or less based on the status of your overall health.
It is important to contact your medical care professional if you think you are sick or have concerns with your immune system.