In the colder months you may be like many people and turn to supplements in order to boost your immune system and protect yourself from getting a cold or the flu. While taking supplements is easy and convenient, you should also know that there are other ways of improving your immune system, without any supplements at all.
If you’d rather not spend any money on expensive supplements, continue reading to see what you can do to boost your immune system naturally.
Boost your immune system naturally
Reduce your sugar intake
If you want to be healthier, reducing your sugar intake is one of the best things you can do for your body. Sugar is well known to suppress your immune system, so you should avoid it as much as you can. This doesn’t mean you should never ever have sugary treats, just don’t have too many and not too often. It will be much better for your health and immune system.
Boost your immune system with exercise
Exercise has many health benefits and that includes a positive effect on your immune system. This is because during the exercise, natural killer cells which are responsible for a strong immune system get stimulated.
After moderate exercise the immune system will often be temporarily enhanced, which will protect you from infections. Be careful, though, as too much exercise can have the opposite effect and can reduce the functioning of the immune system.
Eat a healthy, varied diet
Make sure you eat a healthy, varied diet to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. If your life is hectic and don’t always have time to ensure your diet is varied enough, start drinking green smoothies, which will be packed with various vitamins and minerals, essential for a healthy immune system.
Get enough sleep
This is a really important measure you should take in order to keep your immune system working optimally. Get enough sleep! Lack of sleep is associated with all kind of health issues and it also weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to contracting infections and illnesses. Getting enough sleep strengthens your immune system as it improves the functioning of T cells. These help to kill viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
Drink more green tea
Green tea is full of antioxidants and comes with many health benefits. Polyphenols found in green tea boost your natural immunity and also help the body fight infections and even autoimmune diseases. So start drinking green tea regularly to reap all of its benefits. If you are not sure which brand to try first, check out these best green tea brands you can find online.
Use garlic as much as you can
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and a great immune booster. Try and use garlic as much as you can every day. Add freshly crushed garlic to your salads, use it in sauces, soups and roast it together with vegetables in the oven. It’s always better to eat raw garlic but there are still benefits if you consume cooked or roasted.
Eat probiotic-rich foods
Did you know that 70% of the immune system is found in the gut? For this reason you need to make sure you have enough good bacteria in your gut so that your digestive system works optimally. To improve your gut microbiome, consume more foods that contain probiotics, such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, certain types of yoghurt and kefir.
Make sure you consume enough zinc-rich foods
Zinc is an important mineral to boost your immune system and even a small deficiency can result in an increased susceptibility to infection. To make sure you get enough zinc through your diet, consume the following: freshly popped popcorn, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, oats and if you love seafood, oysters are one of the best sources of zinc you can find. You can also find zinc in eggs, sardines, green peas and whole-wheat bread.
Spice up your food and don’t forget about herbs
Spices are wonderful natural remedies and when you are healthy they help to keep your body in the top condition since they are full of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. Try to include more immune-boosting spices into your diet such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. I add cinnamon every day to my porridge or muesli and use turmeric in various soups, dahl and rice dishes. Ginger is great in seafood dishes and curries but you can also make a ginger tea with it.
Herbs are also beneficial for your immune system, especially oregano, thyme and rosemary. Try and use as many herbs and spices in your cooking as you can.
Are you eating enough omega 3s?
Make sure you get your omega-3 dose by eating oily fish at least once a week. Also include plenty of walnuts and avocado in your diet. Flax seeds and chia seeds also contain some omega-3 fatty acids and are easily sprinkled onto cereal or porridge.
So these are some of the things you can do to boost your immune system without resorting to immune support supplements. Of course, it will not be always possible to follow these guidelines but just give it your best try and you will certainly be on your way to making your body more resistant to colds and various infections.
This post was contributed by Petra, who writes about health and wellness at her blog Be Healthy Now. If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Frugal Fitness: why you don’t have to spend a fortune to get fit.