Although you may not be able to fully prevent an illness this season, a healthy immune system is one way to give your body extra protection. Focusing on nutrient-rich foods and healthy lifestyle behaviors can help you and your family stay a step ahead. Here are five things you can do to help boost your immunity naturally:
1) Drink plenty of Fluids- Water is the best. Many of us have heard that we should drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day. That can be hard to do. Instead, try drinking a glass of water when you wake up to start your day off right. Your body is dehydrated from sleeping, so this is a great way to remedy that immediately. Another tip: If you like warm drinks in the winter, try non-caffeinated teas, which you can include in your daily water tally.
2) Exercise regularly- Physical activity isn't just for building muscles and helping yourself de-stress — it's also an important part of being healthy and supporting a healthy immune system. One-way exercise may improve immune function is by boosting your overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more easily throughout your body. In fact, studies have shown that engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every day helps stimulate your immune system. This means it's important to focus on staying active and getting regular exercise.
3) Stay hydrated- Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness. To prevent dehydration, you should drink enough fluid daily to make your urine pale yellow. Water is recommended because it’s free of calories, additives, and sugar. While tea and juice are also hydrating, it’s best to limit your intake of fruit juice and sweetened tea because of their high sugar contents.
4) Manage Your Stress- Everyone gets stressed. Short bursts of stress may help your immune system. But lasting stress is a problem. It can hamper your immune system. You can take action to tame stress. Make these steps part of your stress management plan:
Get enough sleep.
Learn and use relaxation techniques.
Take time for yourself.
Build your support network of people you can talk to.
Consider counseling, especially when you're going through a very stressful time.
5) Quit tobacco- Smoking, vaping, or using tobacco products damages your body. Tobacco use — like smoking cigarettes — may cause inflammation which can impact your immune system’s ability to do its job. Quitting tobacco can be tough, but there are many resources and programs available to help you.