By: Amanda Froelich,
Every year a new round of advertisements, medicines, and commercials targeting stuffy-nosed, cold victims circulate. It’s obviously no fun to be brought down by a virus or bug when the cold weather hits, therefore the following preventative and immune-boosting tips will help you skip the viruses brought on by cold weather and instead enjoy the chilly season and all it offers.
1. Avoid simple sugars
Consuming too much sugar suppresses the immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. Even just consuming 75 – 100 grams of sugar solution (about the same as two 12 oz sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria. Opt for natural fruit juices, teas, and water to flush your cells, boost your immune system with vitamins, and keep you hydrated.
2. Stress Less
While stress to an extent may be unavoidable, chronic stress makes one more vulnerable to illness, colds, and even serious diseases. The continuation of stress exposes the body to a steady cascade of stress hormones – cortisol and adrenalin – which suppress the immune system. Breathe deep, meditate, or focus on ‘letting go’ to reduce your stress.
3. Make it Mushroom Time
Whatever variety you prefer – enoki, shitake, or oyster – Japanese mushrooms are a great immune booster and are full of antioxidants.
4. Oregano Oil
The valued oil is acts like a weed killer in the body, eliminating bad bacteria that may be battling in your digestive system. Use it to cleanse your gut, consuming 200 mg 3x a day.
5. Crunch the Cruciferous
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and chard all support the liver’s ability and immune function by boosting the liver’s capability to flush out toxins.
6. Move your Body
Being stuck at a desk all day or skipping the need to exercise can reduce your immune system’s efficiency. Movement, or exercise, not only stimulates the lymphatic system (the sewer system of the body), but increases oxygenation, and increases the level of leukocytes in the body, an immune system cell that fights infection. Just for 30 minutes, go on a walk, play with your kids, jump rope in front of the television, or get creative and move your body!
7. Sleep In
Fatigue increases your susceptibility to illness. A lab experiment at the University of Chicago proved this by limiting test subjects’ sleep to four hours and then giving them a flu vaccine; their immune systems only produced half the normal number of antibodies.
Like stress, insomnia can cause a rise in inflammation – and similarly an increase in cortisol. It’s clear a great way to boost your immune system is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
8. Find your Healthy Weight
You’re beautiful not matter what size you are, but to improve your health and support your immune system, it is recommended you adopt lifestyle changes to shed extra pounds. Being overweight increases your likelihood of developing Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease.
Plus, a high number of fat cells trigger the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, leading to chronic inflammation. When the inflammation is ongoing, tissues get damaged. This contributes to a decreased immune system.
Easy changes to naturally shed weight include: eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding refined sugars and processed carbohydrates, consuming lean, optimally plant-based proteins, drinking plenty of water, and getting a moderate amount of exercise. Do it all with a smile!
9. Surround yourself with Loved Ones
Having strong relationships has been proven to boost your physical and mental health – and improve the immune system. Several studies support the idea that people who feel connected to friends – whether a small or large group – have a stronger immunity than those who feel alone.
10. Avocado Aid
The essential amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats in avocados help to balance hormones, support the immune system, and balance adrenals.
Ayurvedic medicine claims Ginger warms the body and helps to break down accumulation of toxins in the organs, specifically the lungs and sinuses. This root also helps to cleanse the body’s lymphatic system, which is the body’s sewer system.
12. Meditate or Relaxation Techniques
If stress suppresses the immune system, then practices that suppress stress boost your body’s ability to heal itself! Lowering levels of Cortisol in the blood can improve sleep, and boost the immune system; this can easily be achieved by meditation or other relaxation techniques.
Meditation need not be intimidating – just relax and strive to quiet your mind for 5-15 minutes a day. Other possibilities include listening to a guided meditation tape, focus on all the positives in your life, or just watch your thoughts and practice ‘letting go’.
The wonderful thing about letting out a hearty laugh is that it decreases the amount of stress hormones in the body while increasing a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Watch a comedy, let your stress hormones drop while your endorphins and growth hormones rise!
A wonder food, this blue-green algae is considered a super-food due to its many benefits: it can stimulate immune function, is anti-cancerous, bountiful in Iron and Selenium, and can replenish the RNA in one’s brain, therefore promotes brain performance. A little bit in a green smoothie can offer healing benefits, sick or healthy.
15. Lower Cholesterol with Oats
Improved health overall can benefit your immune system. A portion of oatmeal in the morning contains soluble fiber, which is known to reduce LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
Garlic in its raw state is antibacterial, antiviral, a great immune booster, and is rich in antioxidants.
17. See the Vitamin C
This well known vitamin for boosting the immune system is found abundantly in almost all fresh fruits and vegetables.
18. Pro for Antioxidants
Certain food suggestions have been given, but emphasize the amount of fresh foods, rich in antioxidants, to include in your diet which can improve your immune system. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals so they can’t do damage, reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and age-related diseases.
Top antioxidants include Vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc. Certain foods abundant in these include: brightly colored fruits – citrus, berries, grapes, kiwi, apples, and vegetables – kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and more!
19. Think Zinc
A great immune booster, Zinc is found naturally in red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.
Like laughing, smiling – whether artificial or real – makes your body think it is happy and can in effect, boost your mood and immune system! Everyone wants to be happy, so do yourself a service and promote a healthier body by wearing a smile.
Engage your best health, reduce your chances of contracting illness, and improve your general happiness with life with the immune boosting tips!