How to Fortify Your Immune System Before Flu Season Returns

Immune System

A strong immune system may not defend you against every illness ever, but it will help you avoid getting sick in many cases. Who doesn’t want to be sick less often?

Luckily, your immune system, the complex network in your body made up of cells, organs, and tissues that battle disease and infection can be improved. Doing so will help you feel better now, avoid more illnesses, and recover from the illnesses that do make their way into your body. 

Check Your Diet

The first, and easiest, step is to look at your diet. A diet rich in highly processed foods, corn syrup, and refined sugars is likely to lead to inflammation in your body. In the short term, inflammation sends signals to your body to heal you.

But in the long term, inflammation can make your body turn on itself, destroying healthy tissue. Essentially, the more junk you eat, the more likely you are to have a weakened immune system. Not only do you want to limit highly processed and refined foods, but you also want to integrate the ones that support a healthy immune system.

One big winner on the list is the dark, leafy green. Think spinach, kale, and collards. Even if you can’t eat a salad every day, you can integrate a green drink powder. Whether it’s at breakfast or during the afternoon slump, a smoothie can give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. 

Move Your Body

Once you start eating more healthfully, you’ll likely notice you have more energy. That’s a good indicator that you’re ready to get up and move more. You see, the less you engage in physical activity, the weaker your immune system may become.

This news can hit hard for many people who have desk jobs or other lifestyle habits that involve sitting for long periods. But, the reality is that if you want a stronger immune system, you’ll need to move your body.

The good news is that most studies show just 30-45 minutes a day of moderate exercise will improve your health. It doesn’t have to be all at once, either. Get in some yoga or pilates for 10-15 minutes in the morning. Try breaking up long periods of sitting by getting up and taking a walk on your break. Take a stroll around the block with your family for 15 minutes after dinner. Before you know it, you’ll be well past the 45-minute mark!

Soak Up the Sun

Another great immune booster is the vitamin D you get from the sun. Many people spend their days indoors during the brightest times of the day, heading off to work or school in the morning and then straight home afterward.

All that time indoors means less sunshine on your skin, which means less vitamin D. Of course, you can take a supplement, but your body does not absorb the vitamin D you’d get from a pill as well as it does from the sunshine.

Just a few minutes a day of sunlight can boost your immune system. So, make the time in the middle of the day to get out into the sunshine rather than avoid it. You can sunbathe for a few minutes, spend time in your garden, or go for a nature walk.

While some people recommend avoiding sunscreen to boost vitamin D production, concerns about vitamin D should not negate skin cancer prevention. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF of 15. And, of course, during long periods without sunlight, take the supplements!

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!

You’ve likely heard the expression, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Americans in particular have come to believe that getting enough sleep means you’re lazy. Sadly, this culture has led to millions of people cutting out their time in bed resting at night. Unfortunately, people who don’t get adequate, quality sleep tend to get sick more and take longer to recover when they do get sick.

Most people need at least seven hours of sleep, and you need to get good sleep. Fortunately, if you’ve been struggling to get quality shut-eye, you’ll likely find that improving your diet, increasing exercise, and getting more sunshine help.

Each of these factors contributes to a good night’s sleep. Now, you just need to turn off your electronic devices before bed, take some deep sleep gummies, crawl into bed with a good book, and go to sleep. 

Manage Your Stress

Stress can be an evil villain fighting against your immune system. It has been shown repeatedly that chronic stress suppresses your immune responses. And if you’re experiencing long-term stress, it’s likely a combination of lack of sleep, poor diet, and a lack of physical activity.

So, you’re dealing with multiple attacks on your body’s natural defenses. Fortunately, once you put the other strategies into place, your stress may be easier to manage.

To build on what you’re already doing—exercising, eating right, moving and sleeping—you can target stress specifically. Set boundaries around your work hours, so you’re not stressing about work around the clock. Delegate duties that don’t demand your time and energy. And consider meditation to focus on your breath and lower your heart rate. Every step you take to find more peace is a step toward a healthier immune system.

Perhaps the greatest news about working for a stronger immune system is that the benefits pay off exponentially. Each positive change you make not only makes your body healthier but also makes the next change easier.

These shifts can improve your overall wellness, your relationships, and even your mental health. In the end, taking the steps to build a strong immune system can do so much more than get you through the flu season. It can change your life.

Read Also: 3 Science-Backed Strategies for Athletic Excellence

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