Building a Stronger Start: Why Immune Boosting Might Be Your Body's Best Defense

AskDrRenee
·3 min read

No doubt you’ve recently heard a lot of talk about the immune system, and hopefully, you’ve been listening. After all, your immune system defends you against most minor illnesses, and boosts your overall health. The good news is that there are some small simple steps you can take to keep your immune system fighting for you.

Here are 7 things you can do to promote better immune health:

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Sleep

Adults needs at least 7 hours of sleep a night to help fight off infection. Many people have trouble sleeping but try not watching TV in your bedroom, make certain your temperature in your bedroom is ideal for sleeping (60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) and put all your devices away; the blue light can keep you from being able to relax and fall asleep.

Eat Whole Foods

Eat more fruits, vegetables, seeds, and beans. Try not eating a lot of processed foods. Food is medicine and whole foods especially from the earth have lots of nutrients that can help ward off illnesses and can provide your body what it needs to keep all the cells in your body healthy.

Exercise Regularly

Studies show that moderate exercise done regularly can help your body to regenerate the immune cells regularly. These are the important cells we need to defend against common contagions.

Quit Smoking (or Don’t Start!)

When you quit smoking you start decreasing inflammation in your body, which will boost your immune system.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

There are many diseases and illnesses that are fed by fat cells, so it is important to maintain a healthy weight. If you eat healthy and exercise regularly you will maintain a healthy weight while boosting your immune system.

Manage Stress

When you have long-term stress it promotes inflammation as well as imbalances in immune cell function. Try meditation, more sleep, relaxation exercises, exercising regularly—and if necessary, seek professional help to talk to someone to help manage your stress.

Supplements

There’s plenty of buzz about supplements, but which are best to take? Studies indicate that the following supplements may strengthen your body’s general immune response:

• Vitamin C. Studies show taking 1,000–2,000 mg of vitamin C per day can reduce the duration of colds.

• Vitamin D. While taking Vitamin D when you have adequate levels doesn’t seem to provide extra benefits, a deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, so supplementing may counteract this effect.

• Zinc. Another great way to cut the common cold short, a review found that taking more than 75 mg of zinc per day reduced the duration of a cold by 33%.

• Elderberry. This supplement has found recent popularity, due to one small review which found elderberry could reduce the symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections—but more conclusive research is needed.

• Echinacea. A longtime favorite of supplement devotees, a study of over 700 people found those who took echinacea had a slightly quicker recovery from colds than those who didn’t.

• Garlic. A tasty way to boost immunity, supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30% in one 12-week study.

It’s important to note that supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are therefore prone to mislabeling. Accordingly, you should only purchase supplements that have been independently tested by third-party organizations like United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and ConsumerLab.

However, as you can see, very simple measures can help give your immune system a basic boost. Nothing is wholly preventative, but even a few minor changes can give your body a better defense in fighting off illnesses.