Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Give your body the best chance of fighting off infections.
When you think of boosting your immune system one of the first things that may come to mind is loading up on Vitamin-C and Zinc. Naturally, you start popping Vitamin-C gummies like they're candy and buy all of the orange juice your local grocery stores have. Instead of feeling better, you're suddenly nauseous and can't stop going to the bathroom...that's embarrassing. Sometimes what your body needs is as simple as good hearty meals and lots of rest. Sure, drinking a glass of orange juice every morning and taking the recommended dose of Vitamin-C and/or Zinc every day will help, but just like any other situation, less is more.
Let's go over some preventative measures you can take to help boost your immune system and fight against infections and illnesses.
1. Live Healthy & Exercise
There is no "magic pill" you can take to boost your body's defense system, the same as there is no magic weight-loss pill that will suddenly make you look like you're 20 again, Karen... If you want to improve your overall well-being then it's time to get motivated and get outside. A healthy immune system starts with having a healthy body. Practice your social-distancing by taking a walk, learning a new yoga routine (thank you, YouTube), or ride your bike! Love your body and your body will love you back.
2. Build Healthy Bacteria
As gross as it sounds, our bodies contain so many good bacteria. These reside in our nails, our skin, and our hair, as well as inside our body (but we won't go [down] there...). We don't really notice these kinds of bacteria until there is an imbalance or lack of good bacteria due to an illness or medical condition. Some people take a probiotic or prebiotic to help improve gut health and regulate, well, bathroom activities. However, over-the-counter "biotics" are not regulated very well, so try getting your dose of good bacteria from foods!
Plant-based foods and whole grains provide prebiotics, thus create a healthy gut environment for good bacteria to flourish. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and cottage cheese are just a few of many probiotic-rich foods. It's best to include foods rich in both probiotics and prebiotics in your daily routine for the best overall benefits.
3. Eliminate Tobacco Use, Lower Alcohol Consumption
As if there weren't already enough reasons to quit smoking, here's another one -- smoking lowers our body's ability to fight off infections. Smoking affects our entire body and our ability to perform average human functions. Eliminating tobacco from your life will increase your energy level, breathing quality, and help your immune system. The same goes with alcohol consumption, don't over drink. Consuming too much alcohol breaks down your immune system, so try switching to water or mocktinis for your next Skype brunch with the gals. They don't just put "Drink Responsibly" on the label because of intoxicated actions, it's also for your personal health.
4. Stop Binge-Watching Netflix until 2AM
Seriously, just go to bed! The lack of a healthy amount of sleep is often the culprit of a lower immune system. If you find yourself getting sick more often or can't figure out why it's taking a whole week for that bruise on your shin to go away, take a look at your sleep schedule. Our bodies go into auto-restoration mode while we are asleep, including ailments and *shock* our immune system! A good night's sleep leads to a healthier tomorrow.
5. Eat Your Darn Fruits & Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which help protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are what your body produces when it's putting in the overtime defending against an oncoming infection. These molecules are associated with heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. So next time, ask for seconds of spinach, red cabbage, and beans. Your body will thank you. Some other foods that are rich in antioxidants are blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pecans, and dark chocolate!
6. Cut Out Sugar
A high-sugar diet has been proven to have negative effects on your immune system, especially a diet rich in "added sugars". Sugary processed foods weaken the bacteria-fighting ability of your white blood cells. Thus, compromising your immune system and overall health. If you're craving sweets, try grabbing some of the fresh fruits mentioned above, or make your own fresh-baked goods with a natural sweetener! Stevia is not only a great sugar-substitution, but it's also rich in antioxidants and has anti-bacterial properties.
Several studies have shown that stevia can be beneficial in the treatment of countless health conditions. It's believed that stevia has anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-glycemic, and anti-hypertensive properties. Stevia has also been studied for use in the treatment of diabetes, indigestion, heartburn, cavities, osteoporosis, and acne. Stevia may also improve energy levels, stimulate mental activity, help with tobacco withdrawal, and *drum roll please* strengthen the immune system!
Incorporate stevia into your daily routine and get all of the health benefits that come with it. Not sure how to incorporate stevia? Simply put it in your morning coffee instead of sugar, use it for sweet tea, and so much more! For a list of recipes, visit our recipe page.