12 Simple Habits to Naturally Boost Your Immune System

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7 Ways to Boost Your Immune System for Cold and Flu Season
If you think of your immune system as a screen door you can see the importance: Does it help keep the immune system healthy? Italian athletes on very low-fat diets were found to be significantly short of these cells. But, by following the advice in this article you stand a really good chance of not getting sick. So far, researchers who are studying this question think that normal exposure to moderate cold doesn't increase your susceptibility to infection. What's Behind Your Chronic Cough?

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How to boost your immune system

Your immune system responds to exercise by producing more of the blood cells that attack bacterial invaders. And the more regularly you exercise, the more long-lasting the changes become. Check out these motivation tips if you need an extra push to get to the gym. If you work out intensively for 90 minutes, production of germ-fighting cells called macrophages dips temporarily, increasing the risk of infection.

So always include plenty of recovery days in your training schedule to preserve immune system health. To help ward off viral infections, make 3 ounces of almonds part of your daily diet—but keep the skins on. Italian researchers studying the herpes viruses that cause cold sores have found that a chemical in almond skins improves the ability of white blood cells to detect viruses; they found that the chemical could also help prevent a virus from spreading throughout the body. Add a handful of almonds to your morning cereal or oatmeal to boost your immune system and keep viruses at bay.

In one study, 90 people kept their feet in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes and the same number put their feet in an empty container for a similar length of time. Five days later, 20 percent of people with chilled feet had developed colds compared with 9 percent of those whose feet stayed warm. These are the clear signs a cold is coming on—and how to stop it. Garlic and onions in soup, stews, and other dishes are both sources of potent antiviral substances that can boost your resistance to infection.

Plenty of other vegetables can add to your infection-fighting armory, including carrots and sweet potatoes. They are rich in beta carotene, which has an anti-inflammatory action and raises the rate at which white blood cells are produced.

Other powerful allies include chile peppers, which thin nasal mucus; shiitake mushrooms, which aid white blood cell production; and ginger, which counteracts inflammation ginger also has these other surprising health benefits as well.

Skip links Skip to content Skip to footer. Do you live in the Nicest Place in America? What you eat, your attitude, and the amount of exercise you get can all play a role in strengthening your immune system and preventing illness.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters Get articles sent right to your inbox. Some people still experience feverish chills, headaches, fatigue, and nausea during cold and flu season — hallmarks of the influenza virus.

The good news is that there are easy, actionable steps you can take every day to protect yourself from getting sick. One is to avoid anyone who might have been infected, and to steer clear of crowded places with poor ventilation, especially during cold and flu season. Another is frequent hand-washing, preferably with soap and water.

The flu lasts one to two weeks , but can linger much longer. If you feel the flu coming on, stay home from work and avoid close contact with others.

The best way to avoid getting sick this season — and always — is to strengthen your immune system and practice preventive care to stay healthy. Strengthen Your Gut The microbes that live in your gut not only help your body digest food — they also help regulate your metabolism, hunger, weight, and immune system. Avoid Processed Foods Eating foods high in antioxidants, such as vegetables and fruits, will boost your overall health and help protect you from the flu and other viruses and infections all year.

Studies show that zinc , which can be found in foods including pumpkin seeds, spinach, oysters, nuts, and beans, can help shorten the duration of a cold by a few days. If you feel a cold coming on, supplement a healthy diet with 25 mg of zinc per day on a short-term basis, he advises. Research shows that people who exercise in moderation report fewer colds. Carry Lavender Oil for a Natural Hand Sanitizer These days, many household products, including hand sanitizers, contain triclosan , which studies have shown can cause hormone disruption in animals.

While the jury is still out, Lipman says the old-fashioned rule of washing your hands frequently with soap and water is more effective. Lavender oil is also great for soothing dry, cracked skin during harsh weather conditions. Keep Surfaces Clean One of the easiest ways to contract the flu virus is touching contaminated objects and then putting your fingers near your mouth and eyes. Some contamination hot spots are phones, computers, and desks.

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