5 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Immune System

September 09, 2022 3 min read

Are you worried about the upcoming flu season? Or, maybe you are heading back to school with all new germs. The immune system is incredible at defending against these disease-causing microorganisms but sometimes fails. Boosting your immune system before exposure is one of the best ways to reduce symptom severity and stay healthy.

Choosing a healthy lifestyle will have the most significant impact on your immune system strength. This naturally keeps your immune system functioning correctly. Boosting your immunity can be done through dietary and lifestyle changes, but it is often easier said than done. 

Here are five ways to strengthen your immunity.

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. Antioxidants help decrease inflammation by fighting free radicals within your body. High numbers of free radicals in your body can lead to chronic inflammation and many health conditions.

The microbiome contained in fibrous plants helps support healthy gut bacteria. A healthy gut allows preventing pathogens from entering your digestive tract.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, controls body weight, and protects against various diseases. Keeping your body healthy through exercise will naturally boost your immunity.

Get adequate sleep

Poor sleep lowers immune systems. In astudy of 164 healthy adults, those with less than 6 hours of sleep per night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept more than 6 hours. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, teens should get 8-10 hours, and children should get up to 14 hours.

With technology at our fingertips, blue lights from phones, TVs, and computers often disrupt sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try limiting screen time an hour before bedtime, sleep in a completely dark room and stick to a bed and wake time. 

Minimize Stress

Long-term stress and anxiety promote inflammation, which reduces the body’s ability to fight other pathogens. Stress puts your body into a “fight or flight” mode, and your body will begin to produce excessive amounts of cortisol to boost your ability to deal with the perceived danger. With modern stressors, we are not dealing with life or death situations in most cases, but our bodies do not know this. Your system cannot function well in an extended fight or flight mode, and your body will compensate in other areas, such as reduced immunity.

Managing stress is a challenge for many people. Meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, and mindfulness can help manage stress. Adding one or more of these activities into your weekly routine can significantly impact your stress levels.

Limit Added Sugar

Several research reports have demonstrated that added sugars and refined carbs contribute to being overweight and obese. Sugar is an inflammatory food, which also increases inflammation in the body. Reducing sugar and refined carb intake can be very challenging, with most processed foods containing one or both in the United States. Shopping along the outside of the store, purchasing whole fruits and vegetables, and reducing processed foods will make a significant difference in your sugar intake. If the product comes in a box, jar, or can, check the label for added sugars carefully!  

There is no agreed-upon “safe” threshold for sugar, but a general guideline is 6-9 grams per day. To give you a frame of reference, one bowl of cereal contains between 10-19 grams of sugar!

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