Looking to give your immune system a natural boost in protection from illnesses? Here are several dietary and lifestyle changes that may strengthen your body’s natural defenses and help fight harmful, disease-causing organisms:
- Get Enough Sleep: Inadequate sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night.
- Eat More Whole Plant Foods: Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, may lower your susceptibility to illnesses, helping to decrease inflammation, which is linked to numerous health conditions such as heart disease and certain cancers.
- Eat More Healthy Fats: Foods such as olive oil and salmon can also boost your body’s immune system by decreasing inflammation, which in turn, decreases your risk to certain diseases like type 2 diabetes. The anti-inflammatory properties can also help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
- Eat More Fermented Foods or Take a Probiotic Supplement: Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which help to strengthen your healthy gut bacteria.
- Limit Added Sugars: These can contribute significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which again can suppress your immune system.
- Exercise Moderately: This will reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of cells, helping your immune cells to regenerate regularly.
- Stay Hydrated: Preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can make your more susceptible to illness, causing headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and organ function.
- Manage Your Stress Levels: Long-term stress promotes inflammation, as well as imbalances in immune cell function. Lowering stress through meditation, yoga, exercise, or listening to uplifting music or journaling can help keep your immune system functioning properly.
- Supplement as Needed: Supplements such as vitamin C, D, Zinc, Elderberry or Echinacea (even garlic) can help to fight viral infections and keep your immune system boosted.
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