Your immune system has a big job to do fighting off germs, environmental toxins, and other threats. Wouldn’t you like to give it a hand to make its work easier?
After all, there are many factors that can strengthen your immune response, and some of them may surprise you. While a balanced diet and regular exercise are essential, they are just two of the effective ways you can maximize your healing powers. Take a look at these immunity boosters.
Immunity Boosters You Can Work on at Home
1. Laugh it up. A good laugh burns calories, boosts your heart rate, and strengthens your immune system. One study measured increased levels of certain antibodies in adults after they watched a Richard Pryor video. How about going out tonight to see a stand-up comedian or watching one on Netflix?
2. Drink a cocktail. Alcohol may be beneficial as long as you practice moderation. That means up to two drinks a day for men and one for women. Researchers have found an enhanced vaccine response in monkeys who are moderate drinkers. Binge drinking, however, has the opposite effect.
3. Avoid overtraining. Daily exercise strengthens your body, but overdoing it can leave you weaker than when you started. Set aside adequate time for rest and sleep. Cut back if your energy level is chronically low.
4. Bask in the sun. Hold onto your sunscreen to protect you from skin cancer and premature aging, but small amounts of sunlight will give you the vitamin D you need for healing.
5. Listen to music. Losing yourself in music is a constructive way to manage stress than can otherwise undermine your immune system. Arrange a soundtrack for your morning commute.
6. Reduce noise. On the other hand, unpleasant background noises can compound daily stress. Keep your earbuds handy to block out car alarms and talking traffic signals.
7. Hang out with friends. Isolation is also hard on your immune system. Call up a friend for a coffee date.
8. Eat yogurt. Foods rich in probiotics have been associated with a lower rate of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Stir toasted oats and almonds into a cup of yogurt for breakfast. Other good choices include soft cheeses, sourdough bread, and miso.
9. Drink tea. Consider trading in your second cup of coffee for a helping of tea. It’s full of phytochemicals and other substances that help to prime your immune system for action.
10. Think positive. A cheerful attitude is one of the best defenses against illness. Plus, even if you feel under the weather, patience will lessen your discomfort.
Immunity Boosters You Can Work on with Your Doctor
1. Get your shots. Maybe you think shots are for school kids and exotic travel. Actually, tetanus boosters and flu vaccines are recommended for many patients. Ask your doctor if they’re appropriate for you.
2. Schedule screenings. Screenings help detect cancer and other conditions early on while they’re still curable or controllable. Many tests are quick, safe, and painless.
3. Quit smoking. It’s becoming easier to give up tobacco, so keep trying. Your doctor can help you customize a strategy that works for you, like nicotine patches or online support.
4. Discuss your family history. While you can’t change your genes, you can talk with your health team about how they affect your immune response. That way, you and your physician can better understand your individual risks and how to address them.
Catch fewer colds and protect yourself from more serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes by taking care of your immune system. A healthy lifestyle and appropriate medical care can extend your life and help you stay active.