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Boost Your Immunity

Boost Your Immunity in Eight Surprising Ways

Don't let stress and sickness get in the way of your goals. Strengthen your immune system with these healthy habits.

Whether you’re a student, an office worker, a business owner, or a stay-at-home mom, you have a lot of responsibilities and you know other people are counting on you. Getting sick is such a hassle because it keeps you from being your most productive self. You can’t avoid the bacteria and viruses around you, but there are many ways you can strengthen your immunity to fight off those infectious organisms. Think of your immune system as your own personal Iron Man suit—a complicated network of cells, tissues, and organs that work hard to protect you. By developing healthy habits, you can power up your immune system and make your body look and feel good.

 

1. Have a good laugh

You already know that watching your favorite comedy show makes you feel lighter, but did you know that it also strengthens your immune system? Studies have shown that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases the amount of antibodies that fight off infection in your body. It also improves blood circulation, which can help prevent heart problems. So if you have a friend who makes you laugh, go ahead and set a date with him. It’s good for your health!

2. Get moving

Exercise has numerous health benefits, but it does a lot more than help you lose weight. Doing regular physical activity produces more of the blood cells that fight off viruses. So if you’ve been thinking about signing up at the gym or trying a new sport, this is extra motivation for you to go out and do it.

3. Meditate to reduce stress

Feeling stressed about work or an overwhelming life situation won’t just make you feel anxious—it weakens your immune system too. Research has shown that engaging in restorative activities like meditation relieves the immune system and leads to healthier aging.

4. Eat foods that boost the immune system

It’s common knowledge that you need to eat fruits and vegetables to stay healthy, but certain types of food are particularly good for the immune system. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits contain Vitamin C, which is key to fighting infections. Veggies like broccoli and spinach are also packed with vitamins and minerals. Other immune system boosters include yogurt, almonds, and green tea.

5. Go out with your friends

Numerous studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation may increase stress, which impairs the body’s ability to heal itself. On the other hand, social engagement improves your mood and strengthens your immune system. If the idea of gathering the whole college barkada together seems daunting, then start by inviting just one or two close friends for a cup of coffee and go from there.

6. Reduce your alcohol intake

Binge drinking with friends can do something worse than leave you with a nasty hangover. Excessive alcohol can actually reduce the ability of your cells to kill germs and fight infections. So while it is true that one drink, such as a glass of wine, may have some benefits, drinking a lot more is harmful to the body. As the old adage goes, moderation is key.

7. Load up on good fats

Not all fats are bad for you. The good fats, such as omega fatty acids, ensure that your immune system cells function properly and enable your body to process fat-soluble vitamins. The good fats can be found in foods such as avocado, fatty fish (salmon, trout, sardines), extra virgin olive oil, coconuts, and coconut oil. Be sure to incorporate these into your diet.

8. Take multivitamins with a combination of zinc,

These essential nutrients work together to promote tissue repair and wound healing. They provide increased resistance against infections, protect cell membranes against harmful organisms, and produce antioxidant effects, which may prevent cancer. You can't always get your daily dose of these vitamins through food, so taking a supplement with these ingredients at least once a day or as directed by your doctor could do wonders for your immune system.