The winter is approaching, and with cold and flu symptoms becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s important to keep a strong and balanced immune system to avoid infections. Taking supplements can help strengthen your natural defenses*, however, there are a variety of factors – from stress to bad eating habits – that can compromise your immune system. Here are 5 ways you can reduce your risk of getting ill this winter season.
A healthy immune system depends on a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals over time.. Consuming dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and brussels sprouts can also improve the immune system due to their richness in vitamin C.
During cold and flu season, feeling run down and tired can compromise your natural defenses, making you more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. A strong immune system is one that has the ability to repair and restore itself while the body rests. To help boost your immunity and help the body defend itself against foreign or harmful substances, aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep at night (NIH, 2017). Not only is sleep beneficial for your immune system, it can help support healthy brain functions and maintain your physical health.
Increasing your water intake can do wonders for your body in multiple ways. Not only does water help carry oxygen to your cells (ensuring that your body’s systems function adequately), it allows your cells to take in nutrients and supports the kidneys in expelling toxins and waste products (WebMD, 2008). This helps your immune system work more effectively as your muscles and organs can function at their optimum level
Chronic stress can be detrimental to the body in numerous ways. Not only does it reduce the strength of T-cells (which multiply and invade infected cells) in the body, it can also reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens, leaving the body susceptible to infections (Psychosomatic Medicine, 1984). Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system as a person may use unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking and smoking (American Psychological Association, 2006). While we can’t completely eradicate stress from our lives, finding healthy alternative strategies such as exercising, spending time with loved ones and getting more sleep can help boost our immune system and overall health.
Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of germs and avoid contracting many illnesses. Reducing how often you touch your face can also help strengthen the immune system as germs can easily get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth.
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