Whether you are someone who tends to get sick all of the time or you just get a cold once or twice a year, you would probably prefer to never get sick at all. While I don’t think we can ever completely prevent getting sick, there are a number of things you can do to support your immune system and significantly reduce your chances of getting sick. In today’s post, we are going to discuss some steps on how to boost your immune system naturally.
Understanding How The Immune System Works
Our immune systems are designed to fight off sickness and viruses. Unfortunately, our immune system can get worn down by many things such as stress, toxins, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits. This is what prevents our bodies from effectively fighting off sickness. But, there are some natural ways to boost your immune system, and the good news is they are all so easy to implement.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty with how to boost your immune system naturally, I feel that it is very important to explain how the immune system works.
Eat A Nourishing Diet
Nutrition is the first tool that should be in your toolbox when it comes to boosting your immune system. Paying more attention to the foods you are putting into your body can make or break your immune response. Eliminate sodas, sugars, and other processed carbs to keep your immune system performing optimally.
Getting a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables with high-quality meats can help balance omega-3 and omega-6 to keep inflammation away.
Focus on immune-boosting foods such as:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Cruciferous Veggies
- Green Tea
When you are regularly eating fruits and veggies that represent all the colors of the rainbow, you have already laid a great foundation for boosting your immune system.
Don’t Forget To Hydrate
I cannot stress this enough! Staying hydrated has a huge impact on your immunity because fluids are what helps all the systems in the body to function at their optimal best. Drinking enough water throughout the day flushes out toxins which could otherwise have a negative impact on your health.
Get Adequate Rest
Sleep quantity and quality play a role in immune health, and not having adequate sleep can make us more susceptible to colds & flu. When it comes to both physical and mental health, sleep is your best friend. I don’t want to get too science-y here, but this quote from one study sums it up perfectly:
“Sleep and the circadian system are strong regulators of immunological processes. The basis of this influence is a bidirectional communication between the central nervous system which is mediated by shared signals and direct innervations of the immune system by the autonomic nervous system.” (source)
Manage Stress Levels
Stress is a major culprit when it comes to your immune system. When you don’t know how to deal with different kinds of stress that can weaken your immune system. The longer you are stressed, the more your immune system is impacted.
When it comes to exercise, this is an area where balance is important. Strenuous exercise can be hard on the immune system, while a sedentary lifestyle can slow it way down. On the other hand, moderate exercise helps to keep the body running smoothly. Some examples of good consistent exercise are walking, jogging, swimming, and yoga.
Probiotics Are Your Greatest Ally
Probiotics are known to help build up your immune system by fighting gut inflammation. 70-80% of your immune system resides within your gut.
Probiotics regulate the immune system by alleviating excessive inflammation in your gut, which boosts immune function. This double blind study shows that consuming certain probiotics for 12 weeks can reduce the risk of catching a cold in certain individuals.
Wash Your Hands
One of the most practical, commonsense steps to prevent infection is to wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, going to the restroom, and before eating or preparing food. It sounds so simple. But, you would be surprised by how many people don’t follow these basic guidelines.