If you want to boost your immune health, you may wonder how to help your body fight off illnesses.While bolstering your immunity is easier said than done, several dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body’s natural defenses.
Sleep and immunity :In fact, inadequate or poor quality sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness.Getting adequate rest may strengthen your natural immunity. Also, you may sleep more when sick to allow your immune system to better fight the illness. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try limiting screen time for an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from your phone, TV, and computer may disrupt your circadian rhythm, or your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle Other sleep hygiene tips include sleeping in a completely dark room or using a sleep mask, going to bed at the same time every night, and exercising regularly.
Eating: Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you a boost of energy. Meanwhile, the fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, or the community of healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immunity and help keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract .Furthermore, fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold .
Drinking water: Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness. To prevent dehydration, you should drink enough fluid daily to make your urine pale yellow. Water is recommended because it’s free of calories, additives, and sugar.
- Elderberry. One small review found that elderberry could reduce the symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, but more research is needed .
- Echinacea. A study in over 700 people found that those who took echinacea recovered from colds slightly more quickly than those who received a placebo or no treatment, but the difference was insignificant. A high quality, 12-week study in 146 people found that supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30%. However, more research is needed.
You can read in an earlier post about growing Echinacea and check out Thursday’s post about Elderberry tea. These tips above are just a few ways to help keep and boost your immunity.