Aside from covering your mouth when you sneeze, washing your hands constantly (for at least 20 seconds with warm water) and eating your fruits and veggies, there are a number of ways to support your immune system naturally. Here are six we’ll start practicing…now.
1. Eat More Garlic
No, it won’t do much for your breath, but, according to a study from Jagiellonian University in Poland, garlic is an antimicrobial agent and immune booster. One thing to keep in mind is that heat deactivates its immune supporting powers, so if you’re cooking with it, add it in just before serving or try it in a cold salad dressing to kick your veggies up.
2. Take a Supplement (for Added Measure)
For an extra boost, Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor and MegaFood Medical Director recommends taking an immune supplement. She suggests MegaFood Daily Immune Support*, which combines four key ingredients: Vitamins C and D3, zinc (dubbed by Dr. Stokes as the starring mineral in the immune line-up) and astragalus, an herb traditionally used to aid in immune support.* Speaking of zinc...go one step further to help your immune defenses with MegaFood Zinc as it supports the vital functions of more than 100 different enzymes in the body.* Taking a daily immune support supplement can help deliver the nutrients needed to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.*
3. Get Enough Sleep
Skipping out on sleep not only wreaks havoc on your immune system, but it also makes it harder to fight off a virus once you’ve got it. Per a study at the University of Tübingen in Germany, sleep and the circadian system are strong regulators of immunological processes. Basically, prolonged sleep deficiency leads to the production of cells that cause increased immunodeficiency. To rest and recharge, Dr. Stokes recommends going to bed at the same time every night (ideally by 10 p.m.) and sleeping for at least seven to eight hours. Get the lavender essential oil out, folks!
4. Move Your Body More
Regular workouts (which can be as low-intensity as a 30-minute walk) are essential to immune system functioning. “The increased movement of exercise helps the cells of your immune system circulate more rapidly,” Dr. Stokes says. Frequent exercise also may help you sleep better, which, as you read above, also keeps you healthier. Friendly reminder: Don’t over-exercise when you’re feeling run down.
5. Spend Some Time in the Sun
We typically associate spending time in the sun with summer, but it’s actually really important (and beneficial) to take in some rays when it’s cold out. In addition to boosting your mood, the sun can also support immune health. So says a study at Georgetown University, which found that exposure to sunlight can energize T cells that play a central role in human immunity. And if you’re lacking in vitamin D (dubbed the “sunshine vitamin”), try a supplement to maintain healthy levels.*
6. Laugh More
And here we thought “laughter is the best medicine” was just a cute saying. As it turns out, this study from Western Kentucky University found that laughing actually curbs the levels of stress hormones and increases a type of white blood cell that may boost immune function. So set aside a couple hours for any movie starring Melissa McCarthy or take two minutes to watch one of our favorite YouTube videos of all time—it’s for your health.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.