GIVE ME A BOOST: TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER IMMUNE SYSTEM
Considering the many cold and flu viruses around that you can potentially catch, your body’s immune system does a remarkable job in protecting you. That said, people still catch over one billion colds in the United States each year.1 For the busy person who doesn’t always have time to take good care of themselves, there are simple lifestyle adjustments that can help boost immunity and lessen the chances of catching a cold or the flu. Here are some easy tips you can implement to give yourself a leg up.
Eat right and help the fight
A well-functioning immune system starts with a good diet. Deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E can have a negative impact on your immune system, while proper levels give your immune system the cold and flu fighting ammo it needs. Integrating a daily helping of fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet is an easy way to help both your immune system and your waistline. Get some ideas on our Grab and Go list for immunity boosting foods and drinks you can easily take on-the-go.
Workout to keep germs out
Exercise can also contribute to general good health and a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.1 Aside from going to the gym regularly, simple things like walking more often, or doing short bursts of exercise whenever you may have a few free minutes can have a worthwhile impact.
Lower stress, raise immunity
Research shows that people under stress increase their susceptibility to catching a cold or the flu, as well as other illnesses. When you’re stressed, immune cells don’t respond as well as they should to hormones that decrease inflammation.2 A higher than normal amount of inflammation may lead to a greater chance of getting sick. Try and take a break from your busy schedule and make time for things like meditation, yoga and reading that are great ways to decrease stress.
Sleep longer, stay healthier
When you’re busy around the clock, getting a proper amount of sleep can be a challenge. But getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining a strong immune system. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins that help fight infection and inflammation. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these. Also, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours nightly, while kids may need nine to ten hours.
1. Vorvick, L. J., MD. (2015, January 31). Common Cold. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000678.htm
2. New Research Helps Explain Why People Under Stress Are More Susceptible to Colds. (2012, April 2). Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/040212
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