Your lifestyle and the foods you choose to eat play a big part in the health of your immune system and poor choices can have a negative can effect on the functionality of your immune system. We need our immune systems to be working properly so that our bodies can fight off germs, viruses, and severe illnesses like cancer. It’s never too late to start taking better care of your immune system so that it can do its job of looking after you. Also read our comprehensive guide on how to boost your immune system. Check out these 15 surprising ways to boost your immune system.
1.Don’t worry, be happy
Surprisingly, studies have shown that if we have a positive attitude to life it’s likely that are immune systems are stronger than people who a negative and see the glass has half empty. According to psychological studies happier people are less likely to develop colds when exposed to cold viruses,and people who described themselves as less happy with their lives were almost three times more likely to get ill. The people with a positive outlook produce of the protein cytokine that attracts immunity cells that help to fight off infections.
2. Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C
Eating foods that are packed with vitamin C will help to boost your immunity to common colds, flu and fatigue. You can add oranges to almost all foods to help you achieve your recommended daily allowance of vit C. Use orange juice instead of water when making rice or boiling vegetables. Add orange juice to a homemade salad dressing or mix orange with plain low-fat yogurt for a tasty alternative to sour cream or less healthy dips.
It may not sound or smell very appealing, but research shows that eating lots of raw garlic is very good for our health. In fact, people have been using garlic for thousands of years as an elixir of life. One little clove of garlic can pack a real punch and is packed full of immunity boosting minerals like calcium, potassium, and more than 100 other sulfuric compounds that are powerful enough to destroy bacteria and infection. Eating it raw rather than cooked or dried is best as the heat when cooking kills off the enzymes, which can reduce the effectiveness of garlic’s antibiotic power.
4. Regulate your body temperature
Keeping your body at a normal temperature will allow your body to better fight off illnesses such as cold and flu. When your body temperature is too low your immune system has to work harder to keep viruses at bay and your body is more susceptible to viruses when your immunity is low so it’s all about regulation. The ideal body temperature that helps maintain a strong immune system starts at 36.3°C (97.3 °F) and the best time of day to check your body temperature is first thing in the morning.
5. Eat lots of juicy berries
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries not only taste delicious they are also a great source of vitamin C which our body needs to help protect the immune system and prevent cell damage and deficiencies. Dark berries also work as antioxidants. Eat them by the handful or add them to cereals and smoothies for a healthy, guilt free burst of sweetness that you know is helping your immune system to work better.
6. Regular exercise
It always comes back to exercise, there’s just no escaping it so you might as well just get on with it, get out there and get active. Studies show that people who exercise regularly have healthier white blood cells than people who do little or no exercise. White blood cells are the cells in our body that fight off infection and disease. Also, exercise releases endorphins which are the hormones that give us a sense of happiness and well-being, helping you to feel relaxed and sleeping well, which in turn improves your immune system and your immunity to illnesses like cold and flu. Running every day can be a good start.
7. Take a cold shower
This might seem like an odd thing to do, but according to a study,people who take cold showers have more virus fighting white blood cells compared with those who have hot showers. It’s believed that when the body tries to warm up it needs to increase the metabolic rate and kickstart the immune system, which in turn releases extra white blood cells. Alternating between hot and cold water also acts as a form of manual lymphatic drainage similar to the effects of massage of the lymph which can enhance the immune system’s ability to prevent illness.
8. Chicken soup
It might sound like an old wives’ tale but apparently drinking chicken soup when you’re ill with a cold or flu actually works. Studies show that, if you do come down with a cold or the flu, a bowl of steaming chicken soup can ease inflammation and help speed up your recovery. You could also try making a soup out of mushrooms such as reichi, maitake, and shiitake as they can have a positive influence on your immune function and they enhance the production of chemicals that help your body fight infection.
9. Regular sex
A study has revealed that you now you have the perfect excuse for sneaking in some ‘afternoon delight’ as having sex once or twice a week is good for your immune system.Sex increases the immune system protein, immunoglobulin A which is antibody that has a critical role in immune functionality. Also sex may also boost your immunity because it can help to reduce stress, make you feel good and help you to get a good night’s sleep.
10. Laughing yourself well
They say that laughter is the best medicine, well it’s also good for your immune system. When we laugh it reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body and boosts a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Try and laugh every day to help boost your immunity. Watch a funny video online for a quick laughter fix which will reduce your stress levels and keep your immune system healthy and happy.
Meditation focuses your mind and helps you feel calmer and now, according to a recent study in America, it can also strengthen your immune system. The study tested patients with HIV who meditate regularly and the results showed that they all had a dramatic decrease in the immune cells.
12. A little bit of stress can do you good
It may seem bizarre to associate stress with boosting your immune system but apparently a little bit of induced stress can charge your immune system in a good way. To achieve the right immune boosting effects, you need to expose yourself to short-term controllable stress so that your body will prepares itself for potential harm and activates its immune resources. If you’re brave enough you could try some extreme sports like sky diving or do a bungee jump top get the desired adrenalin inducing effect.
13. Copper bracelets
Wearing copper can help get your immune system working to its full potential. The copper mineral is not naturally produced by our bodies so we have to rely on food as a source. Copper plays an important function and binds with enzymes that aid the creation of haemoglobin which is vital for healing. When copper is worn as a bracelet the copper slowly absorb into the tissues and bloodstream, helping to strengthen the immune system.
14. Eat bacteria
Your gut is full of good bacteria which are known as probiotics and these good bacteria are responsible for supporting digestion and maintaining your immune system. It’s important to add probiotic bacteria to your diet to keep the balance of good and bad bacteria at the right levels.Eat food that are rich in probiotics like sauerkraut and kefir to help your immune system combat harmful organisms and fight off infection. If you’re not keen on probiotic foods, then you can try probiotic yogurt drinks and spreads or take supplements in tablet form instead.
Turmeric is a yellow coloured spice normally found in Indian dishes and it is also known for its number of proven health benefits, including boosting the immune system. Turmeric is high in antioxidants which protect immune cells from damage. Some studies report that the active ingredient curcumin found in turmeric provides the immune system with the support it needs to combat certain viruses, fungi and bacteria. As it is not that strong in flavour and is mainly used for its colour, you can easily add ½ a teas spoon to your food as a supplement to help boost your immune system. Be sure to take the side effects of turmeric into consideration when consuming it fresh or as powder. If you choose turmeric capsules, the side effects are less pronounced.