With flu season in full swing boosting your immune system is even more important than during the rest of the year. These seven tips will help you be ahead of the flu and have your immune system in tip top shape.
Get enough sleep. “There’s an association with lack of sleep and getting sick,” Dr. Mainardi explains. “Medical and surgical residents who would notoriously work 100-hour weeks during their residencies were at a much higher risk of not only getting an infectious disease but also reactivation of a past disease.” Your body functions much better when you’ve had enough sleep versus getting only a couple of hours a night.
Take Probiotics or eat yogurt. If your gut bacteria is off, it can affect your body’s capability to fend off infections. Taking probiotics (which have live and active cultures) can help with that. Yogurt also contains live, active cultures which help keep the gut and intestinal tract free of germs that can make you sick.
Exercise regularly. Not only does this make you feel great in the moment but it helps to improve your immune system. People who live more sedentary lifestyles tend to get colds or infectious diseases more frequently than those who are active. Working out can help to flush out bacteria, speed up the circulation of white blood cells and antibodies, and raise body temperature which can help prevent bacteria from growing.
Eat food high in vitamin C. Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit, red bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach are high in vitamin C as well as other vitamins. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and it can also help you maintain a healthy complexion. Also supplementing with a vitamin C vitamin is a great way to add an extra boost to your immune system.
Eat chicken soup. Growing up, more than likely, your mom made you chicken noodle soup when you were sick. Well, it was all for a good reason. Chicken noodle soup blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells according to the University of Nebraska researchers. “The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, which may explain the results. The soup’s salty broth keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do. Added spices, such as garlic and onions, can increase soup’s immune-boosting power.”
Eat mushrooms. “Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive. This is a good thing when you have an infection,” says Douglas Schar, DipPhyt, MCPP, MNIMH, director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine in Washington, DC. Mushrooms are also a great source of vitamin D.
Ginger. Ginger helps to decrease inflammation, in turn, it can help reduce sore throats as well as other illnesses that cause inflammation. Whether you add it to your tea or include it in your chicken noodle soup, it is not only a great spice but an immune system booster as well.
Keep these in mind as the winter flu season starts to make its way around and keep your immune system in check!