Flu season is coming: Easy ways to boost your immune system
The immune system is complex, but boosting it doesn’t have to be.
Your immune system is influenced by what you eat.
Key vitamins will keep you healthier, longer.
Lifestyle plays a bigger role than you think.
The immune system is a complicated thing. Not everyone understands just how it works, but we all know its a critical part in staying happy and healthy. While there are a number of pricey supplements you can take that claim they’re immunity boosters, they aren’t always necessary. In reality, there are several easy-to-access immunity boosters out there, if you know where to find them. Some of them are hiding out at your local grocery store, while others are totally free for everyone.
You are what you eat
Often times, preventing illnesses and boosting the immune system begins with the foods on your plate. Several fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, red bell peppers, spinach, and even broccoli contain vitamin C. This is a crucial vitamin when it comes to immunity boosts because vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells. White blood cells help our bodies fight infections.
One of the main appeals of vitamin C-rich foods is that they’re available in the produce section at just about every grocery store. Vitamin E is another critical vitamin when it comes to immunity boosters, as it has the ability to modulate immune functions. You can find vitamin E in foods such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts.
Often times, preventing illnesses and boosting the immune system begin with the foods on your plate.
Other immunity boosters are anti-inflammatory foods like berries, green tea, dark chocolate, avocado, ginger, and turmeric. Inflammation – especially chronic inflammation – has been linked to several diseases and health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and certain types of cancers. To avoid the unpleasant, long-term effects of inflammation, incorporate the aforementioned anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.
Who knew immunity boosters were in our everyday produce?
Here comes the sun
Preventing illness and boosting your immunity doesn’t just concern items you ingest. In fact, getting a daily dose of sunshine is one lesser-known immunity booster. By going outside and getting a little sunlight, the body naturally produces vitamin D. This vitamin is one of many major immunity boosters. Vitamin D helps prevent conditions like depression, heart disease, some types of cancers, and more.
The best part? You only need to stay in the sunshine for about 10 minutes for your body to produce the necessary amount of vitamin D it needs. Remember, though, the sun is a powerful force. Always protect yourself with sunscreen and layered clothing to minimize damage from the sun caused by UV rays.
Once you get outside, try practicing some mindfulness to destress while you soak up some vitamin D. Severe, chronic stress sends hormones throughout the body, letting the body know it’s in emergency mode. This emergency mode actually depresses the immune system, making stressed-out people more susceptible to illness and disease.
If you’re constantly overloaded with stress, consider daily meditation or other activities like taking a bath or attending a relaxing yoga class. Reducing your stress levels with relaxing activities will boost your immunity immensely, even though these aren’t your typical immunity boosters.
Make sure you get sufficient sleep, too. Healthy sleep a powerful immunity booster, as it can improve the effectiveness of T cells. These specialized cells are responsible for defending the body against viruses, bacteria, and pathogens.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
Essential health facts that everyone should know | Living 101 Key tips on how to stay happy and healthy
Foods you should be eating for healthy skin, hair, and nails | Living 101 Vitamins, natural foods, and other unexpected beauty-friendly foods
How to use apple cider vinegar to benefit your health | Living 101 Learn all about this healthy vinegar and how to take advantage of it