Cold and flu season brings with it a host of new ills. Our busy lives leave little time to deal with the aches, pains, and accompanying fever. In fact, sick days have become a luxury in today’s economy.
Some of the best defenses against illness aren’t expensive treatments, but sound, common-sense approaches to boosting your immune system. Here are some of best strategies for shoring up your immune system year-round:
7 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
- Get plenty of rest. It goes without saying that most Americans are sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, poor insulin metabolism, depression, hypertension, and frequent viral infections. Getting enough sleep each night allows your body to repair itself and to prepare for the next day. Limit your screen-time before bed, establish a regular pre-sleep routine, and make getting a good night’s sleep a priority.
- Establish a regular workout routine. Aim for 45 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people who work out experience fewer colds and flu bouts than their sedentary peers. Develop a consistent routine with activities that you enjoy, such as hiking, bicycling, or any other workout technique that you will look forward to on a regular basis.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration just isn’t for the gym. Staying well-hydrated flushes toxins and viruses from your system, aids in digestion, and keeps your tissues and cells healthy. While there are no set rules for fluid intake, your urine is a measure of your hydration status. Urine that is pale yellow indicates you are well hydrated, whereas darker urine suggests you may be dehydrated and need to drink more liquids.
- Treat yourself. Booking just one Swedish massage session provides not only relaxation, but also an increase in disease-fighting white blood cells. Once thought of as a luxury, massage has become a mainstream strategy for maintaining a strong immune system.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around excess weight makes it tougher for your system to fight off viruses and bacteria.
- Try probiotics. These “good bacteria” populate the large intestine and help our bodies to metabolize the nutrients in our food. A high quality probiotic supplement in addition to a healthy diet is your best nutritional defense against illness.
- Drink green tea. Green tea is an excellent source of stress-reducing properties. A recent study of Japanese schoolchildren demonstrated a possible link between green tea consumption and fewer colds and flu bouts.
Many of the tools you need to maintain a healthy immune system are right at your fingertips. Healthy lifestyle changes are a simple and cost-effective way to boost your immune system and to prevent illness.
It may take some time before these lifestyle changes become part of your normal daily routine. However, once you commit to these healthy habits, you’ll reap the benefits of overall good health and better immune response.