With Christmas and New Year’s in the rear view mirror, the craziness of your life is hopefully winding down. You’ve given gifts to your friends and loved ones, indulged in way too many sweets, and celebrated the start of a brand new year.
Hectic holidays have a way of weakening our immune systems, leading to the after-holiday cold and flu. All it takes is one pesky germ to shut down your defense system, but there are a few things you can do to to boost your immune system so you don’t become victim to the sniffles.
Strengthen Your Immune System By Picking Up Healthy Habits
Your immune system can be affected by a variety of things, one of the most prominent being your lifestyle. One of the best things you can do for your health and your body is to pick up healthy habits. When your immune system is healthy, it will have no problem deterring pathogens and unwanted bacteria. A few tips to strengthen your immune system, outside of the foods you eat, include:
- Stay away from smoking
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Get enough sleep
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink alcohol in moderation
Superfoods That Will Help Boost Your Immune System
A healthy immune system requires good nourishment, so it’s important to fuel your body with foods that will benefit it. By incorporating the below foods into your diet, it can help strengthen your immune responses.
Blueberries are the first fruit you should go to when trying to strengthen your immune system. These magical berries are full of antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals (free radicals can damage your cells and also contribute to things like cancer and aging). Blueberries contain a flavonoid, called anthocyanin, which has been shown to play a critical role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system.
There’s a reason people turn to vitamin C once they start coughing and sniffling. Vitamin C has been shown to help cure symptoms of the common cold. Colds are not dangerous in themselves, but when left untreated, they can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. Vitamin C has also been shown to increase the body’s production of white blood cells, which are a key component in fighting infections in the body. Some citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C include grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines.
When you consume live and active cultures, like those found in yogurt, it can help regulate your immune system and boost your body’s natural defenses. Instead of picking up any yogurt brand, we recommend looking for plain yogurts that aren’t pre-flavored (flavored yogurts are known for having a ton of sugar in them).
Broccoli is another superfood you should include in your diet if you want to strengthen your immune system. Supercharged with vitamins and minerals and packed with vitamins A, C, and E, broccoli is one of the healthiest green veggies you can put on your plate. In fact, many of the nutrients that can be found in this vegetable are known to help support healthy bones as well.
Garlic is not only great at keeping vampires away, it is also a food ingredient that can help strengthen your immune system. Garlic contains a compound known as alliin, which turns into allicin when crushed or chewed. According to some studies, these compounds can boost the disease-fighting response of various white blood cells in the body.
Herbalists all over the world recommend ginger root as a natural treatment for a variety of health conditions. With unique antiviral properties, ginger can help you fend off the respiratory virus that has been going around the office. Ginger can also prevent nausea and soothe an upset stomach.
Not only is spinach rich in vitamin C, it contains a long list of antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the efficiency of your immune system. A wonderful source of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, protein, and fiber, spinach can help detoxify your body and strengthen your bones.
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