It’s that time of year again: Widespread sickness! Protect yourself with these 7 tips for strengthening your immune system.
1. Eat probiotics.
Diet is essential to a healthy, functioning immune system. One place to start is by eating probiotics (friendly bacteria). Our guts contain bacteria of all kinds, but by eating probiotics we place health-boosting microorganisms inside. These help fight off viruses and reduce the risk of some diseases.1
Examples of probiotic foods include miso, kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles and dark chocolate.
2. Exercise for an immune boost.
Light exercise has been shown to be beneficial in fighting sickness. Typically, on average, fit people don’t get sick as often.2
If you’re sick, only exercise lightly if you have symptoms above the neck (i.e. runny nose, sore throat, etc.). If you experience any worsening symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches, vomiting or diarrhea, it’s recommended you skip.3
3. Drink plenty of water.
Hydration is always very important. Dehydration is one way your body’s immune system can be weakened.4
4. Make sure you eat loads of fruits and vegetables (more so vegetables).
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals essential to our body’s proper functioning. Two vital ones are vitamin C and D. Both aid in the fight against foreign bodies.
5. Get enough sleep.
According to Mayo Clinic, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your immune system and increase the likelihood of catching a virus you come into contact with.5
Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Your body will thank you for it.
Stay clean, wash your hands often, and generally stay sanitized. This will help expel potential viruses and bacteria from your vicinity. Surprisingly, be careful with the amount of hand sanitizer you use, however. At a certain point, it may become too much of a good thing – so stick with regular soap instead, if you can.6
Stress is one of the biggest culprits in a weakened immune system. According to a report from the American Psychological Association, “for stress of any significant duration – from a few days to a few months or years, as happens in real life – all aspects of immunity went downhill. Thus long-term or chronic stress, through too much wear and tear, can ravage the immune system.”7