immune system
immune system

With cold and flu season approaching, it’s a good idea to make sure your immune system is strong. Since both these common viruses are highly contagious, chances are high that you’ll come into contact with them this season. But when you immune system is working at its best, it will do a good job of fighting off any illnesses you come into contact with, and either prevent you from getting sick or lessen the duration and intensity of your illness. So how can you make sure your immune system is ready to attack this season? Check out these tips.

  1. Get more sleep. A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. When your body is deprived of rest, it produces the hormone cortisol, which over time can suppress your immune function.


  1. Avoid alcohol and tobacco smoke. Excessive alcohol consumption can prevent your immune system from working properly, and exposure to tobacco smoke raises your risk of developing illnesses like and pneumonia.


  1. Take a probiotic. Probiotics, or healthy bacteria, are essential for strengthening your gut health. Studies have shown that a healthy gut is the best way to boost your overall immune system. You can add a probiotic supplement to your daily regimen, or you can consume more fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut.


  1. Get some sunshine. If it’s possible, spend a little time outside to catch some good vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels are correlated with greater risk of respiratory infections and influenza viruses. You can also ad a vitamin D supplement to your regimen, but getting it right from the sun is best.


  1. Eat more garlic. Garlic is antimicrobial and immune boosting. But heat destroys some of its key nutrients, so it’s best to eat it raw. Try throwing it in a salad dressing or dip if it’s too strong for your taste.


  1. Eat more whole foods. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds give your body excellent nutrients that help keep your immune system strong. While you’re working on your diet, eliminate processed foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Those things can undo the work you’re doing to boost your immune system.


  1. Use immune-boosting herbs. Herbs like eleuthero, Asian ginseng, American ginseng, or astragalus can work wonders to boost your immune system and help clear up recurrent infections.


  1. Try Echinacea. Echinacea is great for your immune system, and making a tincture or tea is a good idea during cold and flu season to ward off illnesses.


  1. Eat medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms like shiitake and maitake can enhance your immune function and keep illnesses at bay.


  1. Manage your stress levels. Like lack of sleep, stress can cause an increase in your cortisol levels, which can decrease your immune function. Manage your stress through exercise, yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy.