A strong immune system — it's more than just what you eat
We're in the thick of cold and flu season—but who has time to get sick these days? With all of the demands you face, at work and at home, you need to make staying healthy a priority. If you're trying to figure out the best immune system booster, you've come to the right place.
A strong immune system is cultivated through more than just what you eat. There are certain foods that can promote health and wellness, but there are many other steps you can take to assure you stay in tip top shape this winter. Read on to find an immune system booster that's right for you!
Find an immune system booster that's right for you
Generally when we come down with a cold, we turn to citrus because we know it contains Vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which help fight infection. Grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes are all great sources of Vitamin C. Even just squeezing a lemon wedge in your glass of water is beneficial.
Keeping in the fruit family—pomegranate is another superfood promotes wellness. The seeds of the pomegranate are packed with a lot of nutrition and antioxidants. It boosts the immune system by fighting off harmful free radicals. It also contains Vitamins B, C, and K. Incorporate this fruit by sprinkling some pomegranate seeds on a salad.
Elderberry, which commonly comes as a syrup, gummy, or lozenge, is shown to shorten the length of cold or flu symptoms. It's a remedy that's been used for hundreds of years because the berries are full of antioxidants and have antiviral properties.
Uncommon sources of Vitamin C
If you think citrus fruits are the best source of Vitamin C—think again! Red bell peppers contain twice the amount of Vitamin C as citrus. Sauté some red bell peppers with garlic (another powerful antiviral) for a healthy and immune boosting side dish.
Other immune boosting foods include ginger, green tea, manuka honey, turmeric, and broccoli.
Why chicken soup works
It's commonly known that chicken soup is the right go to when you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms. Is this just an old wives tale? Turns out it's backed by science. It's suggested that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory effects that can ease respiratory infections common with cold or flu. Chicken soup is also nutrient dense, and potentially more palatable if you are feeling sick and can't stomach a more solid meal. It also is a good way to stay hydrated.
Supplements for immune system
Vitamin C is just one of the many vitamins that support a healthy immune system. Zinc and Echinacea are two other powerful immune boosting supplements that play a key role in maintaining wellness.
Zinc is an essential mineral that helps the body with immune cell function. Echinacea is an herbal remedy that has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells that help fight off infection. Mybite Immune contains Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea, and Elderberry—it covers all of the bases and comes as a delicious dark chocolate bite.
Take care of your gut health
Your gastrointestinal tract makes up a large part of your immune system. Keeping your microbiome healthy can promote wellness throughout your entire body. Avoid excess sugar and processed foods as they can cause gut bacteria and yeast issues that create imbalance. To maintain your gut health consider taking a daily probiotic. Probiotics contain good bacteria that will keep your gut bacteria balanced. Some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of antibodies and other immune boosting cells. Probiotics are found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt—but you can also take it in pill form.
Napping can keep you healthy
Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of a weakened immune system. It can increase the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines as well as stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine. If you're feeling run down and exhausted don't fight it! Let yourself take a nap to recharge—your body will thank you for it.
A laugh a day keeps the doctor away
We've all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.” Well, it's true! Laughing is not only good for your mental health, but it also boosts a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Go see a comedy show, stay in and watch your favorite funny movie or TV show, or hang out with your funniest friends!
Regular, moderate-intensity exercise
Physical activity may flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways. It also creates a change in your white blood cells—it causes them to circulate more rapidly, which allows them to detect infection faster. The rise in body temperature while exercising may prevent bacteria from growing, similar to what a fever does to the body. Exercise also slows down the production of stress hormones that weaken the immune system. However, exercise that's too intense can have the opposite effect and lower immunity—so make sure you don't overdo it. If climate allows—get out and exercise in the sun, getting Vitamin D is another way to keep yourself healthy and on the go.
Connect with others
Isolation and loneliness are shown to weaken the immune system. People who connect with others have lower rates of anxiety and depression—and your mental health has a direct impact on your physical health. Make an effort to spend time with loved ones even if the cold, gloomy weather is making you want to stay in bed. It's quality not quantity, so even just spending one on one time with a close friend will be an immune system booster!
Stress is a leading cause of illness. As noted above, stress hormones, like cortisol and norepinephrine, weaken the immune system. In short burst, cortisol can improve your immune system, but chronic unnecessary production due to stress can lead to an inflammatory response in the body. Stress lowers your lymphocyte levels, and that leaves you more vulnerable to viruses like the common cold.
Some scientifically-backed ways to reduce your stress levels include meditation and yoga. Meditating ten to fifteen minutes a few times a week can reduce the production of stress hormones and, as an added bonus, prevent premature aging! Yoga, which provides the moderate exercise suggested earlier in the article, also calms down the nervous system and promotes deep breathing, which can increase resistance to infection.
Make a positive impact on your immune system
Cultivating and maintaining a strong immune system can happen through a variety of ways. The food you put in your body is definitely important, but other factors, like your mental wellness, impact your immune system too. Reducing stress, staying connected to friends and family, having an exercise routine, and getting enough sleep are all essential immune system boosters. An easy way to strengthen your immune system is to take a vitamin like Mybite Immune—it contains all of the main vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy and happy all winter long.