With cold and flu season upon us, we are all looking for ways to boost our immune systems. There are a few easy and non-invasive steps you can take in your day to day that will help improve your immune system as we head into the fall and winter months. To keep yourself from running to Urgent Care every few months here are four of the easiest ways you can boost your immune system.
Getting enough quality sleep at night is essential to many of our body’s major functions. Your immune system is one of the systems in the body that will suffer if you are not getting enough sleep each night. In a study of around 170 adults, those who slept less than six hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept six or more hours each night. Adults should try to sleep for at least seven hours to naturally strengthen their immune systems.
Diet plays a huge role in our immune system. If you are consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients, you are giving your immune system an upper hand when it comes to fighting off harmful pathogens that can cause you to fall ill. Antioxidants are known to help decrease inflammation which is linked to numerous health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers.
If you are looking to boost your immunity naturally through your diet, you will want to focus on including more whole plant foods daily. The extra fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants contained in many whole plant foods provide your body with the nutrients it needs to bolster your immune system and fight disease. Try eating a diverse diet rich in fruits and vegetables to ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates are also great additions to a healthy diet.
Health fats are also important to include in your diet as they are known to help decrease inflammation which helps your body’s immune response to pathogens. Fats like olive oil and things containing omega-3s are great for decreasing inflammation. Salmon and chia seeds are some great sources of omega-3s.
Gut health is heavily linked to immune health, so foods that contain probiotics are also helpful when it comes to increasing immunity. Things like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, tofu, or miso all contain probiotics and are great at balancing gut health. You can also try out a probiotic supplement if your health care provider recommends it.
Moderate exercise, when done consistently, is known to reduce inflammation and help the cells regenerate regularly. Exercise can help improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, control body weight, and protect against disease. In general, physical activity is known to improve the overall health in anyone who participates. When you have good overall health, you are more likely to have a well-functioning immune system. Even as little as one session of exercise has even been shown to boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people who have compromised immune systems.
It is important to note that moderate exercise has been shown to boost the immune system, but prolonged intense exercise has a different effect. Too many intense sessions can actually suppress your immune system. This is due to the energy your body has to put into recovery after a powerful work-out. This just means it is important to find a healthy balance.
If you are already good at meeting your daily hydration goals, keep up the good work. If you are already meeting your needs, increasing water consumption will have no effect on your immune system. Dehydration is what can really cause your immune system to fail. If you are not a frequent water drinker, try increasing your intake to eight cups a day. This will help you to avoid symptoms of dehydration that are known to have a negative impact on your immune system. Dehydration can lead to headaches, decreased physical performance, poor focus, mood and digestion or decreased kidney function. All of these factors can increase your susceptibility to illness. If you exhibit extreme symptoms of dehydration, visit your local Urgent Care Lexington Ky for immediate help.
Try some of these methods to boost your immune system to help keep you and your family out of Urgent Care this cold and flu season. Eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water and getting the right amount of sleep and exercise are important steps to take when trying to keep yourself healthy. These changes, in conjunction with the flu vaccination, are sure to help keep your family healthy all year long.