Getting sick is anything but fun. It sets you back at work and you end up not only feeling gross, but unproductive. But the best way to get over sickness is to prevent it, which comes down to having a healthy immune system. So here are 9 ways to boost your immune system according to science.
What Is the Immune System?
We all know what the immune system does. It fights off bad bacteria and pathogens to keep our bodies running the way they should. But do you know what the immune system is? What it’s made up of?
The immune system is a network of cells and organs that work to keep you healthy. It involves important white blood cells seeking and destroying foreign cells and organisms, i.e. colds and flu. Think PacMan. Your immune system works by sending white blood cells to attack invading organisms.
So how can we make sure that our immune system has everything it needs to keep us fighting fit?
9 Ways To Boost Your Immune System
Boost your immune system all year long with these nine proven ways. Backed by science, they are sure to help you stay healthy and strong!
1. Exercise Regularly
Studies suggest that physical activity not only boosts your metabolism but your immune system too! Researchers believe exercise clears away sick cells and boosts the growth of healthy ones. These healthy cells are better able to fight foreign bodies and keep you feeling your best.
2. Eat Plenty of Plants
The vitamins, minerals, and probiotics you get (or don’t get) from your diet are super important. The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuf is by eating a healthy diet.
Since 70 percent of all your cells that make up the immune system are in the gut, eating healthy foods and plenty of probiotics can help keep your immune response strong.
3. Manage Your Stress
Stress, big and small, can weaken your immune response. Studies have found that when you’re stressed out, you produce fewer white blood cells, which are the things responsible for fighting off illness.
It can be super hard to manage stress, especially when it comes unexpectedly, but here are some ways to help you chill out a little more:
- Go for a walk or workout
- Take some deep breaths
- Meditate or do yoga
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Laugh (more on this later)
- Find a friend or support group to talk to
- Take time for YOU each day
4. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is our bodies way of cleansing and repairing the body. Your immune system releases special proteins when you sleep, which we need to fight off foreign bodies.
Studies have shown that you’re more likely to get sick when you don’t get enough sleep. The quality of your sleep has a big impact too, so make sure that you get enough sleep, especially if you feel yourself coming down with flu.
5. Wash Your Hands
According to one survey’s findings, 62% of men and 40% of women don’t wash their hands. Another study found that 95% of people who do wash their hands are doing it wrong.But washing your hands will stop the spreading of germs and keep your immune system safe.
Make sure you wash your hands after being in a public place and wash them with plenty of soap and hot water. Use hand sanitizers often too.
Remember those white blood cellss and how they fight off infection in the body? Laughter increases those types of cells!
Laughter is also instant stress relief, which as you now know, protects the immune function. Do yourself a favor and spend some time laughing each day. It’s good for your health!
7. Try Herbal Teas
Several herbal teas can help strengthen your immune system, plus who doesn’t love a soothing cup of tea now and then?
Teas that can boost the immune system are:
- Chamomile tea for calming and stress relief
- Dandelion tea for cleansing
- Ginseng tea for boosting healthy white blood cells
8. Get Some Sun and Vitamin D
Don’t over do it, but getting some sun exposure and vitamin D can help keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Some German researchers found that vitamin D can increase your immune function 3-5 times!
So how much of this sunshine vitamin should you get?
It depends on your skin tone, but as little as five to up to twenty minutes in sunlight, with hands and face exposed can help your body get that needed vitamin D.
9. Take a Super Supplement
Vitamins and minerals are essential to lots of functions in our body and our immune system is no different. A multivitamin can make sure you get all of the essential vitamins your immune system needs everyday.
The best vitamins to boost your immune system are:
- Vitamin C and E