You've likely seen plenty of headlines claiming to reveal the secret to a strong immune system. But the truth is, keeping your body healthy overall is the best way to boost your immunity. When your body is healthy, it can do all the functions it needs to do more efficiently while fighting off the germs you come into contact with daily. Follow these tips to make healthy changes that can also help you avoid getting the flu, colds and other bugs.
The recommended sleep amount for adults is a minimum of 7 hours, but getting a little more could help you feel better rested. Tune into your body to figure out how much sleep it needs to stay healthy, strong and ready to fight off infections. When you don't get enough sleep, your body might produce an increased level of stress hormones and cause more inflammation, which can make it difficult to stay healthy. Feeling rested also helps you feel better mentally, which can help you make healthier choices. If you're tired and cranky, you might reach for quick but less nutrient-rich foods. With rest and a positive outlook, you're more likely to choose foods full of healthy nutrients that can give you an extra immunity boost.
Your gut health can impact your immunity, so eating a healthy, balanced, nutrient-rich diet could help you fight off bugs. Whole, plant-based foods are packed with nutrients that can help support your immune system, so focus on incorporating more into your diet. Fermented foods support gut health, increasing the good bacteria, which can support your immune system. Antioxidant-rich foods can also help support your immune system. Your body might be able to absorb and use the nutrients from food better than it can from supplements, so focus on eating the nutrients rather than taking them in pill form.
While you're munching on your veggies, grab a glass of water to wash it down and stay hydrated. It helps your body operate smoothly, which can support your immunity. Water also keeps your mucus membranes moist, which can help keep germs away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Additionally, drinking plenty of water can help increase your energy levels, support your brain function and control your weight, which can support your overall health and immunity.
You know you should get regular exercise, but you might not realize how many ways it can support your health. It offers physical benefits, such as improved heart health and weight control, and it supports your mental health and immunity.
There could be several reasons exercise helps your immune system. It can help reduce inflammation, which makes it easier for your body to defend itself. Stress relief from exercise is another way to get immune support. Exercise releases hormones that boost your mood and help lower your stress levels.
Keeping your body at a healthy weight can reduce overall health issues and allows your body to work optimally, which can help it fight off germs more effectively. Carrying around extra weight can put more strain on your body and cause other health issues that could compromise your immunity. Work with your doctor to get an idea of what weight range is healthy for you.
A little stress in your life is normal and can help you take action in various situations. But if you always feel stressed and overwhelmed, your high stress levels could contribute to you getting sick. Ongoing stress could cause inflammation in your body, which works against immunity. It can also keep you from doing healthy things, like getting enough restful sleep and choosing healthy food options, which can hurt your immunity.
Finding positive ways to deal with your anxiety and stress can help you feel better mentally and support your body so it can fight off germs. The methods that work for you might be different from other people, so test out different stress-relief strategies to create a game plan that works for you. Some ideas include:
Visiting a therapist can also help if you have ongoing high stress levels. Talking through the issues can help you process them and reduce your stress levels. A therapist can also give you coping strategies that might work in your daily life.
Another effective way of reducing your risk of an illness is by controlling the spread of germs. Regular hand-washing is a highly effective way of getting rid of germs you pick up before they enter your body and make you sick. Wash with warm water and soap frequently, scrubbing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds each time you wash. Make sure you wash all your dishes, glasses and utensils well, especially if you share them with other people, for additional germ control.