If you are the sort of person that catches the sniffles, coughs, and colds in a heartbeat, try some of these easy and effective tips to boost your immune system and stay healthy.
1. Stop Smoking
Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. It increases your risks of getting lung cancer and other severe lung diseases. The damage that the smoke does to lung cells can cause COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder), emphysema, and swelling. Heart disease, stroke, and premature aging are also connected to smoking, but some of its biggest effects are on the immune system.
2. Cut Down on the Sugar
Twinkies, M&Ms, and cupcakes always seem like a great idea when we are stressed or need a little pick-me-up. Sugary, chocolaty foods release endorphins that have a painkilling effect and make you feel happy, and while this makes you happy in the short-term, it doesn’t make your body happy in the long run. Cutting out sugar can have an even bigger effect on your immune system than quitting smoking.
3. Eliminate Junk Food
People say an army marches on its stomach. Well, so does your immune system. Nutrition is extremely important for the immune system, and lacking certain vitamins and nutrients and substituting them with sugary, non-nutritious food can cause it to crash. Eat more fruits and vegetables that are filled with vitamins A, B6, C and E and things such folic acid and copper.
4. Exercise Moderately
You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to benefit from exercise. However, if you’re the sort of person that doesn’t leave the house all day, maybe you’d benefit from the PokemonGo craze. A daily walk of about 30 minutes (even if it’s to catch pokemon) or a Pilates class a few times a week can not only keep you fit, but boost your immune system.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is probably one of the most important and underrated ways to stay healthy. Binging Netflix till the wee hours of the morning may seem like a good idea at the time, but come flu season you’ll notice the difference. Studies have shown that getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night can promote your body’s ability to heal itself.
6. Don’t Binge Drink
Binge drinking is unfortunately a fan favorite among college goers and young adults. It’s well known that binge drinking affects brain development, the liver, and can even cause cardiovascular problems.
7. Drink Some Green Tea
Green tea has been lauded as a super food for its metabolic powers, its many antioxidants, and its place as a healthier alternative to coffee. However, green tea can also have great effects on your immune system. For the maximum effect of green tea with minimum bitterness, add a little lemon and honey after steeping for 2 minutes. However, make sure not to add milk as that can counteract the goodness of green tea.
Much like how sleep reduces stress hormones, being stress-free is also beneficial for your immune system. Work, school, relationships, friendships, family- nowadays everything is a source of stress. Many colleges and schools report a huge rise of sick kids when finals come around. Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety and depression, which can lead to other, more serious, health problems. If you find yourself overly stressed, try meditating, getting massages,taking long relaxing baths, or listening music to reduce it (music has amazing health benefits!)
9. Get Some Sunshine
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B6 are all important- but so is Vitamin D. During the winter it may be hard to open the door and force yourself out into the frozen tundra, but it is necessary to keep your immunity up. Just 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight everyday will give you the dose you need. But be careful to not overdo it- too much could give you sunburn and increase your risks of skin cancer.
10. Laugh More
When people say, “laughter is the best medicine” they really aren’t kidding- laughing doesn’t just heal a broken heart, it gives your immune system a boost. While there really is no way to force yourself to laugh, just have fun with friends and do things that make you happy.