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Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

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Having to pick up another cough medicine, cough suppressant or fever-reducer? Feeling like sleep just isn’t enough? These can be signs it’s time to find some support for your immunity.  There are several ways to strengthen your immune system naturally through simple lifestyle changes.

 

Healthy Diet

The best way to strengthen your immune system is to eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Be sure to consume plenty of foods with vitamin C like broccoli, oranges or cantaloupe.  Antioxidant-rich, colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, carrots and spinach, help support immunity by protecting your body from harmful compounds called free radicals. Try to avoid processed foods and excess sugars.  Stay hydrated with plenty of water and other sugar- and caffeine-free beverages.

 

Supplements

If a balanced diet doesn’t fit into your lifestyle just yet, you can enhance it with over the counter vitamins, minerals and supplements. Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting a new regimen.  Some immunity-supporting boosting supplements include:

 

  • Zinc:  This mineral is important for immune cell function, which supports the body's defense against infection. Supplementation with zinc may help support a healthy immune system. †
  • Elderberry: Rich in antioxidants, elderberry may support immune function and reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections. †
  • Garlic:  Allicin, a compound found in garlic, is known to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, and may help prevent colds. †

 

Exercise

We’ve all heard the recommendations to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week for overall health, but did you know one of the health benefits of  this physical activity is boosting your immunity?

 

A combination of strength and cardio training keeps your body resilient and better able to fight off infections.  It may reduce the chance of getting a respiratory infection by flushing the bacteria out of your lungs and airways.  Exercise also causes your body to release endorphins, hormones produced by the brain naturally produced  which may boost happiness and mitigate stress and anxiety levels.

 

Meditation

Our bodies produce the hormone cortisol in response to stress. Consistently high levels of cortisol can wreak havoc on the immune system.  As a reaction, blood pressure increases and resistance to fighting infection decreases. 

 

Meditation is a great technique to reduce stress and anxiety.  It is calming, lowers heart rate and decreases blood pressure.  Try sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing as you inhale and exhale, just even for five minutes per day can be helpful.

 

Sleep

Adults need at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.  It is our body’s time to regenerate new cells and acquire the energy needed to fight off infection. Sleep deprivation can decrease immune function.

 

If you have some trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try an essential oil diffuser.  Studies have shown that lavender oil has a calming effect, and may improve sleep and anxiety.

 

By implementing some of these healthy habits, you can make a difference in your immune function.  Your mind and body will benefit from the extra steps taken to keep your immunity in tip-top shape.

 

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Sources:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/strengthen-your-immune-system-with-simple-strategies/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-vitamins-best-boosting-immunity/

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm#:~:text=Physical%20activity%20may%20help%20flush,white%20blood%20cells%20(WBC).