While bolstering your immune system is easier said than done, dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body's natural defenses and fight off harmful pathogens, or disease-causing organisms.
Here are 10 tips to boost your immune system naturally.
1. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep may increase your risk of getting sick. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Try these tips to help improve your sleep:
2. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated doesn't necessarily protect you from those germs and illnesses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health.
Given that dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness, it is imperative that you drink plenty of water per day.
Note: As we age we tend to lose the urge to drink as our bodies do not signal thirst adequately. Older adults need to drink water regularly even if they do not feel thirsty.
A good rule of thumb is 8 glasses of water a day or 64 ounces total.
3. Manage your stress levels. Relieving stress and anxiety is key to immune health. I know, easier said than done sometimes but I am going to give you some tips.
Stop the mind screw is full of tips on relieving stress and anxiety.
Long-term stress promotes inflammation as well as imbalance of the immune system.
Some tips for stress relief are exercise, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, yoga, and more.
Seek counsel from a licensed therapist or counselor if stress is long-term or you having difficulty.
4. Supplement wisely. Supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Elderberry, Echinacea, and garlic have proven to boost the immune system - especially if you are not getting them in the foods you eat - aka eating junk food. 😮
It is wise to take a daily vitamin that includes the listed supplements especially if your diet lacks quality.
5. Eat more whole plant foods. Whole plant foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.
6. Eat more healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, avocado, and salmon may boost your body's immune response to pathogens by reducing inflammation.
Although low-level inflammation is a normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system.
Since chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, healthy fats may naturally combat illnesses.
7. Eat more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement. Gut health and immunity are deeply connected. Fermented foods and probiotics like yogurt and sauerkraut may bolster your immune system by helping it identify and target harmful pathogens.
Note: if you take a probiotic supplement take it on an empty stomach. Its job is to fight bacteria and if you have food in your gut already it will have to fight through that much more bacteria to get to what you really want to fight.
8. Limit ADDED sugars. Added sugars contribute significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease all of which can suppress your immune system. Lowering added sugars can also decrease inflammation and your risk of these conditions.
9. Engage in moderate exercise. It is recommended that we exercise 150 minutes a week or about 20 minutes a day. Moderate exercise is brisk walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, biking. Follow along with me for more tips on incorporating exercise into your day-to-day routines. Need help?
10. Use of essential oils. There is an essential oil that helps boost the immune system. I use Revive essential oil (you can get it from Amazon). You can diffuse it, put it in an inhaler, or rub on the soles of your feet as it contains a heated oil that can burn if put on the face.
Link to Revive Immunity on the picture below: