Do you cringe every time someone sneezes or coughs by you? Do you dread every time your child comes home with a cold because you know your going to catch it too? Every time you get on an airplane, do you come down with something? And then when you do get sick, it knocks you out and you’re out of commission for at least a few days. If it seems like you’re always the one catch whatever virus is going around, these tips can help you out.
Sleep is usually the first thing to go when we get busy. We think, “I just need 5-6 hours, I’ll catch up later.” But when you do come down with something, what’s the first thing you want to do? Sleep. Because sleep is when your body goes through cellular repair. Lack of sleep deprives your body the chance to repair any damage and then you get worn down and become sick. Shoot for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep.
HERE'S SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU GET MORE ZZZZ’S.
2. Find Ways to Handle and Decrease Stress
One of the fastest ways to run down your system is stress. In our fast paced world, chronic stress has become a way of life. However, it’s totally wrecking our immune system. We are constantly on high-alert and it’s having grave consequences on our health.
Stress can be persistent so before it becomes a chronic problem, here’s how you can better manage it.
3. Cut Out Refined Sugar
I sure know that feeling of comfort combined with a burst of energy after eating a bar of chocolate or anything that contains sugar. And don’t you feel like reaching out for more when you are sad, bored or stressed and then you seem okay after? That is the effect of endorphins, body chemicals that give you the feeling of happiness. If it’s sugar-derived, the effect will be short-lived yet the impact on your immune system could be dramatic.
When you eat refined sugar and simple carbohydrates (like processed junk food) your body releases insulin. Insulin causes your body to store these molecules as fat. Over time your fat cells grow larger and at some point will reach their maximum size. This causes the cells to go into stress and send out distress signals, white blood cells will rush to their aid and start attacking. This is what causes chronic inflammation and if your white blood cells are busy fighting your own fat cells, any virus or bacteria that may come in are going to have free reign.
4. Eat Vegetables!
Vegetables are known for their antiviral and antibacterial properties, the protective powers that help keep you sickness-free. The richer they are in color, the better nutrients and better immunity-boosting antioxidants you get. Beta-carotene, vitamin C and E are among the major phytonutrients your immune system is likely to enjoy from purple, red, orange, yellow and blue vegetables.
Another great addition to your plate? Cruciferous vegetables! Cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and sprouts are some of this kind. The sulfur compounds in them convert to become isothiocyanates or ITCs, known not only for boosting the immune cells, but in helping fight cancer too. If you are not into veggies yet, time to add them to your diet now.
5. Make Sure You Have a Healthy Gut
Did you know that about 70% of our immune system is found in your gut? Live microorganisms in the gut help digest food, normalize metabolism, regulate hunger and yes, boost the immune system. That is, if you have a well-functioning gut. To help keep it humming healthily, you need to keep supporting it with bacterial health.
Fermented foods (raw sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha, and kefir) and probiotics (the good bacteria) help maintain an optimum gut flora. If you’ve been on antibiotics it’s especially important to take probiotics and eat some fermented food because you’ve not only killed the bad “bugs”, you’ve taken out your good, helpful bacteria as well.
6. Wash Your Hands
Mom had a good reason for making us wash our hands before eating when we were young. It is not merely about hygiene – it’s the first line of defense to fight germs to help prevent the spread of bacteria. And the fewer bacteria passed around, the better chances our immune system has.
Contaminated hands cause the spread of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections. There are forms of these infections that can cause serious implications thereby weakening the immune system especially among children and the elderly. Make it a habit to wash your hands often and especially before eating.
7. Get Your Heart Rate Up – Increase Your Body Temperature
It’s true! A study discovered that the immune cells work better with increased body temperature and when the heart rate is up. Exercise, even a moderate intensity like walking, will help. Here’s why:
8. Take Your Vitamins, Especially Vitamin D
One of the best defenses your body can have is through vitamins, the essential constituents that should always be a part of your diet. Vitamins influence the immune system to works its best and keep it healthy to effectively ward off disease-causing microorganisms.
Vitamin D is among those gaining particular notice in boosting the immune system because despite the name, it is not an ordinary vitamin. Whether derived from sun exposure or from supplements, it plays a vital role in strengthening the body’s way of resisting illnesses. Other than the sun, vitamin D may be derived from tuna, mackerel, salmon, beef liver, cheese and fish liver oils to name a few.
With these tips, even when it seems like everyone around you is getting sick, you can stay ahead of the game. Keeping your immune system at it’s peak is certainly your best defense.