Winter is known as cold and flu season, but the truth is that colds can hit any time of the year. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve for those times when I feel I might be catching a bug. For me, stress management and a good night’s sleep are key. Here are a few ways to boost your immune system and combat those pesky colds.
My Top 10 Tips for Boosting Your Immune System
- Reduce Stress – Stress can wreak havoc on the body, so proper stress management is crucial for keeping the immune system in good working order. Try listening to relaxing music, mediation, or doing yoga on a regular basis.
- Exercise – Exercise has many benefits, most of which result in a healthier body. Even moderate workouts can rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. Studies have shown that people who exercise catch fewer colds.
- Get Enough Sleep – When we sleep, our bodies are hard at work detoxing, repairing, and rebuilding. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re denying our bodies the time it needs for these functions and we’re compromising our immune system.
- Cook with Tumeric – Tumeric can be found in the spice aisle at the grocery store, but it’s been used for its medicinal properties in China and India for hundreds of years. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which can treat a whole host of ailments.
- Drink Lemon Water – Starting the day with warm water and lemon is said to aid with digestion, flush toxins, and give the immune system a boost. Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, which is known for its ability to combat colds.
- Eat a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet – Whole foods are loaded with nutrients the body needs to stay healthy while most processed foods are just empty calories that end up putting extra strain on the body as it tries to process them. Most of the immune system resides in the gut, and whole foods will help keep everything in perfect working order. Things like processed packaged foods, sugar, and dairy products tend to junk up the system.
- Take Probiotics – Because most of the immune system does reside in the gut, it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. Intestinal flora can sometimes get out of whack, so replenishing beneficial bacteria can help boost immunity. Probiotics can also help prevent and even treat some illnesses.
- Have Some Garlic – The stinking rose contains broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents and immune boosting compounds. One clove is powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection. Raw garlic is most beneficial, as heat and water can deactivate garlic’s sulfuric compounds. Onions and ginger are also known for their ability to keep colds at bay.
- Supplement – Vitamins C and D are both known for abilities fight infection and keep the immune system strong. There are also many immune boosting herbs such as oregano, eleuthero, ginseng, echinacea, and astragalus. Avoid taking herbs on a daily basis, as regular use can diminish their effects.
- Avoid Smoking and Alcohol – Tobacco can impair basic immune defenses, and it increases the risk of developing bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. Alcohol can also damage the immune system and increase the risk of infection.
What do you do to keep your immune system running?
Reprinted with permission from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen.