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In a World of Germs, Here's How to Boost Your Immunity
There’s something terrible about knowing that a cold or other sickness is coming on.
04:58 10 March 2023
There’s something terrible about knowing that a cold or other sickness is coming on. When you feel the beginning effects of your body struggling to fight off sickness, it brings a sense of dread, and that inevitable thought crosses your mind: How could I have prevented this? The key to staying healthy in a world that’s filled with germs just waiting to disrupt your life is immunity.
Your immune system is responsible for protecting your body against viruses, bacteria, toxins, and other germs. Your immune system works overtime to rid your body of invaders when you feel sick, but by then, you’re already feeling the negative effects. In order to avoid leaping from sickness to sickness (especially now, as those winter sickness blues are real), you need to boost your immunity. Here’s how!
Get Enough Sleep
Research has shown that not getting enough sleep can make you sick, along with other negative impacts on your mental and physical health. This is because sleep allows your body to repair and replenish, and when you don’t receive enough quality rest at night—including REM sleep—your body can’t function its best. When it comes to immunity and sleep, a lack of proper sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and a reduced ability to fight active infections.
Do Physical Activity
You’ve heard time and again about the positive effects of exercise and why it’s important, but did you also know that engaging in physical activity can strengthen your immune system? Exercise has a whole body effect, which means it contributes to your overall health. Yet, you can also target your immune system specifically by engaging in moderate to intense physical activity at least a few times a week.
Because exercise contributes to your overall wellbeing, aiming to stay physically active throughout your week is the best way to ensure your body is operating well. Learn how you enjoy getting daily movement, and be sure to schedule it into your week. Your whole body will thank you!
It may seem like water is the answer to every question about health, but that’s because staying hydrated is imperative for staying healthy. When it comes to water for immunity, water helps lymphatic fluid circulate (which aids in fighting infection), helps create a barrier around your respiratory tract, and helps your body absorb vital nutrients.
Staying hydrated sounds simple, but it’s easy to reach for anything other than water when you feel thirsty. One of the best ways to ensure you drink enough is to keep a water bottle with you at all times so you sip throughout the day. Soon enough, drinking water instead of other alternatives will become a habit and your health will be better for it.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a key component of maintaining a healthy immune system due to the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients they contain. Have you ever heard the concept of trying to eat the colors of the rainbow? This “eating the rainbow” strategy of meal planning is effective because it’s the phytonutrients in food that give the distinctive colors, so ingesting colorful food ensures that you eat a wide range of nutrients.
Try your best to pack your diet with as many fruits and vegetables as you can if you want a happy and healthy immune system. How do they help? A diet rich in plants is also one full of immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and antioxidants.
All stress takes a toll. Some stress you might feel firsthand, like if you’re worried about a presentation at work or anxious about a relationship, while other stress impacts your body but might feel less noticeable. This can look like moving to a new home or city, starting a new job, altering your routine, struggling with finances, getting married, having children, and essentially any busyness or big adjustment. Obviously, many stressors will be unavoidable at times, and some even come with intense joy.
For a strong immune system, aim to decrease avoidable stress where possible and learn to manage your stress the rest of the time. Meditating, getting physical movement, talking with a friend, and engaging in self-care are all useful methods. Find what works for you and prioritize your health when stress arises.
Feeling a virus begin to impact your health is a universal experience, and one that will make you wish you’d taken more preventative measures. Fortunately, each of these above steps will help you boost your immunity so you can spend less time feeling sick and more time living life to the fullest.