Boost Immunity


Did you know there are ways you can boost your immune system to maximize its benefits?
As the weather cools, indoor gatherings are more frequent and the holiday season brings lots of reasons to socialize. Now is the time to start thinking about ways to increase your immunity. Your immune system fights off viruses and bacteria and is your body’s first line of defense against illness, so it is important to be aware of how to build immunity. We all want to ward off germs, and a strong immune system means less chance of getting sick.
Here are three tips for building a healthy immune system to protect against illness this winter and beyond:


Water supports your immune system in many ways. Our blood and lymph systems have immune cells in them. They need water to flow in order to circulate in our bodies. Even if you aren’t exercising or sweating, you lose water so it is helpful to know what your water intake should be. Check out this Hydration Calculator from EveryDay Health to help guide you.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Doctors now believe that up to 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut. An anti-inflammatory diet full of whole, unprocessed foods and antioxidants is key to a strong immune system. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Key micronutrients to include are Vitamin B6, found in foods such as chicken, salmon, and tuna; Vitamin C, found in citrus fruit, as well as tomatoes, broccoli and spinach; Vitamin E, found in almonds, peanut butter and spinach; Zinc, found in oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, and dairy products; and Magnesium, found in whole wheat products, nuts, seeds. Fiber-rich vegetables, fruits and whole grains are very beneficial for building and maintaining immunity.

Exercise Regularly to Decrease Stress

Physical activity may help flush out bacteria and clear the airways. We know it slows down the release of stress hormones, and stress affects your body’s immune response. Stress causes you to produce extra levels of cortisol and cytokines, which trigger inflammation. Stress can also decrease the number of white blood cells available to fight infection, increasing your risk for colds. In addition, stress has a negative impact on sleep and making healthy food choices - two key factors to boosting immunity.

Consider trying a new yoga class or practice slow, controlled breathing throughout the day. This breath work has a powerful effect on stress by lowering both cortisol levels and blood pressure while also improving immunity-building blood flow.
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