There is no doubt this has been a particularly challenging and downright scary cold and flu season. One thing is for certain, flu-related illnesses can be deadly, claiming up to 600,000 people per year globally (Time Health). Just last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 30 pediatric deaths caused by influenza since October. News outlets are one day encouraging everyone to get the flu vaccine and the next day telling us it’s not effective on certain flu strains.
What are we to believe? How are we to protect ourselves?
How to give your immune system a boost:
1) Get plenty of sleep and reduce stress. When you’re sleep deprived or overly stressed your body will elevate its hormone cortisol which can suppress immune function.
2) Get plenty of good fats. Your body needs good fats like organic meat and dairy products, seed and nut oils, fish and olive oil to keep your immune system working properly.
3) Exercise regularly. Working out can help your body circulate white blood cells faster, giving your body a better fighting chance against potential threats. Plus regular exercise helps to lower your stress levels by promoting high quality sleep.
4) Get fresh air and sunshine. Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D, an important part of keeping your immune system operating at its best.
5) Drink less caffeine and alcohol.
6) Wash your hands often. Also wipe down grocery cart handles, door knobs, and any frequently touched surface.
7) Eat immune boosting foods. Garlic, whole grains and yogurt all great choices to help manage your body’s stress response and promote a healthy gut, which can improve immune function.
8) Have fun! There have been many studies supporting how social interactions make us happy and boost our immune systems. On the same note, a study published in 2016 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that loneliness and anti-social behavior have shown to increase stress and even hurt our health. So get social and stay healthy!
As you can see there’s a lot you can do to take control of your health and boost your immune system. What is your immune support plan?