A weak immune system cannot fight disease-causing organisms so it’s important to adopt healthy habits that will save your life when you least expect it.
Here are 15 ways to naturally boost your immune system:
1. Laugh more – no joke
Whether you’re searching for memes or tuning in to watch your favourite comedian, laughter increases oxygen intake and stimulates blood circulation.
2. Quit/reduce smoking
According to Medical News Today, smoking can shorten your lifespan by up to 12 years. Carbon monoxide, one of the poisons found in tobacco, starves the body of oxygen and reduces organ function. Smoking also increases your risk of having a stroke.
3. Eat more ginger
Ginger is not only known for reducing indigestion but contains antioxidants that aid in the treatment of a range of infections, as well as reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and inflammation.
4. Keep in touch with loved ones
As the poet, John Donne said: No man is an island. The research found by Psychology Today states that people who socialise are less prone to colds, flu, depression, and even cancer than those who isolate. Keep in touch with your friends and family regularly.
5. Drink at least 2l of water every day
Maintain the balance of fluid in your body by drinking enough water every day. It’s important to remember that the more active you are and the more you perspire, the more water you will have to drink to replenish the fluid that your body has lost. Don’t like plain water? Try adding some lemon, mint or fresh fruit pieces to add some flavour.
6. Exercise regularly
Moderate exercise can help fight infections since it increases blood circulation and reinforces the disposal of bad bacteria. Make sure to move for at least 20 mins every day to get your blood pumping, taking oxygen to your organs for optimal function and also releasing much-needed endorphins.
7. Prioritise personal hygiene
You’ve likely been brought up to wash your hands or ‘freshen up’ before you eat, which is the best way to stop unwanted elements from entering your body. Ensure that you wash your hands with soap frequently and avoid touching your face. Also, keep up regular personal hygiene standards like showering daily and brushing your teeth regularly to stay clean and healthy.
8. Listen to your gut
Your gut (gastrointestinal tract) or digestive system is often referred to as the second brain. This is because the digestive system breaks down food for the absorption of nutrients and the control of blood flow. An irregular digestive function can impact the body’s elimination and absorption of nutrients, as well as cause mood swings. Research into the human microbiome has found that there is an inextricable, biological link between the mind and the digestive system, commonly known as the brain-gut or gut-brain connection.
In The Mind-Gut Connection, Dr Emeran Mayer, professor of medicine and executive director of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress, offers a revolutionary and provocative look at this developing science, teaching us how to harness the power of the mind-gut connection to take charge of our health and listen to the innate wisdom of our bodies.
9. Eat according to the seasons
Consuming local, fresh food is not only good to support local businesses but Michigan State University confirms that it’s healthier too. Since local produce is more accessible, you have a better chance of consuming the food before its nutrient level has reduced. Plus, it reduces the overall carbon footprint, so you’re helping the world at the same time.
10. Develop a good sleep routine
It’s not enough to have 2 hours of sleep one night and 10 hours of sleep the next. Try to adopt the habit of consistently getting enough sleep, at the right times. Just as a poor WIFI signal will interrupt your live stream, your body can’t operate at its best when it’s fatigued.
Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health. Not getting enough quality sleep regularly raises the risk of many diseases and disorders. These range from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia.
11. Snack on nuts and seeds
Feel free to snack on what you wish but when it comes to strengthening your immune system, you’re going to want to increase your consumption of Vitamin E. Nuts like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. But remember to stick to a handful or two a day, as they are also high in protein and (good) fats which add to your daily caloric intake.
Also read our blog on Healthiest Nuts to Snack on.
12. Eat less dried fruit
It’s tasty and packed with loads of antioxidants and micronutrients but is also easy to consume in large amounts. Since dried fruit contains high levels of natural sugar, overeating can be harmful to your heart and increase your risk of cancer and diabetes. Some dried fruit is also high in Sulphur due to the curing process.
13. Enjoy a little sunshine every day
To maintain the body’s need for vitamin D, which supports the growth of bones, helps the body absorb other vitamins, and improves the body’s resistance to certain diseases, experts recommend enjoying at least 10 – 20 minutes of sunlight every day. Take a walk outdoors to combine it with your daily exercise – but do remember to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself against the damaging effects of the sun.
14. Reduce alcohol intake
Sure, one glass of red wine with dinner may be good for cardiovascular health but consuming too much alcohol, or consuming it too regularly can actually negatively impact your immune system. Overindulgence could even send your body into toxic shock and can have life-threatening repercussions.
15. Eat more plants
Research shows that over a third of cancer-related deaths in the US could have been prevented with diet and nutrition alone. Mayo Clinic also reports that the best diet for cancer prevention is a meat-free one, but make sure to focus on fresh, organic plant sources rather than highly processed, genetically modified options.
Share the link to this blog post with someone who could do with an immune system boost right now.