Boost Your Immune System: 10 Tips to Improve your Body’s Natural Defense System

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay

To boost your immune system is to bolster your body’s natural defense system against coughs, a sore throat and colds. In 10 simple steps, we’ll show you how to improve your immune system so you stay fit during cold and flu season.

How to Boost Your Immune System

Our immune system protects us from viruses and bacteria. It is made up of a complex network of interworking cells, intercellular signals and tissues. The body is busy fighting off pathogens in every inch of your body. If your immune system is weakened, the effectiveness of the body’s natural defense mechanism is reduced. This makes it easy for pathogens to find their way in – and then become the sniffles. We’ll show you how to prevent colds and boost your immune system with ten simple and easy tips.

1. Get Enough Sleep

When we sleep, our body is busy eliminating toxins, which stimulates metabolism and releases growth hormones. Just one night without enough sleep can weaken our immune system. The average adult should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. The best way for you to ensure you get a proper night’s sleep is to develop a controlled sleep rhythm.

2. Exercise Outdoors Boosts Your Immune System

Boost your immune system through outdoor exercise
Exercising outdoors can be as simple as tossing the frisbee around, going for a light jog or a 15 minute bike ride. (Photo: © Utopia / Binford)

Physical activity activates our somatic cells and stimulates the immune system: We’re relieving stress while at the same time burning a ton of energy. Getting exercise outside versus in the gym has another added benefit: Our bodies soak up vitamin D from the sun, another helpful element in improving your immune system. Fresh air also improves circulation. This too supports an immune system boost.

3. Fresh Lemon Juice

Boost your immune system with fresh lemon juice
Packed with Calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin, as well as iron and vitamin A, lemons help to boost your immune system. (Photo: CCO / pixabay - stevepb)

Making daily improvements to your health is as easy as drinking a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice in the morning. Warm water curbs digestion and restores your body with necessary fluids.

With the lemon, you start your day off with a vitamin boost for you and your immune system: Lemons are stocked full with Calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin, as well as iron and vitamin A. Here you’re not only giving your immune system a boost, you’re also promoting proper liver function.

4. Boost Your Immune System by Eating Right

Boost your immune system: eating right – cutting board, knife, cooking
Eating right is key to boosting your immune system in the winter months. (Photo: © Utopia/Binford)

An overwhelming 70 percent of the immune cells shielding us from pathogens and warding off illness are found in the intestines. A balanced diet is key to keeping these working as they should. That means: Plenty of fruits and vegetables – regionally produced, seasonal and organic in quality. Looking for some inspiration? Feel free to check out our guide on how to write (and keep up with) a healthy grocery list.

Legumes, wholegrain products and nuts should all be a staple in your diet. Try at best to avoid sugars. These can be harmful to the intestinal flora and hinder your immune system’s ability to ward off pathogens.

5. Limit Stress

Improve your immune system: limit stress
Remember to take a load off once in a while and relax. (Photo: © Utopia / Binford)

Whether on the job or at home – stress can reduce our immune system’s ability to ward off invaders in the long-term. What’s the trick? Slow things down and enjoy some peace and quiet at key moments throughout your day.

6. Stay Hydrated

Boost immune system; drink water, stay hydrated
The key to a healthy immune system is staying hydrated. (Photo: © Utopia / Binford)

Drinking enough water daily helps the body to rid itself of harmful toxins. Keep your water bottle handy – especially when you’re on the move. Recommended daily water intake is about two liters – or eight eight ounce glasses (also known as the 8×8 rule).

Like many other simple changes to our daily routine, this too is possible without the use of single-use plastic – drink tap water! Save time and money by avoiding overpriced bottled beverages on the go and use your own refillable water bottle made of stainless steel, glass or BPA-free plastic.

7. Boost Your Immune System: Laugh More

laugh more laughing couple
Remember to have a hardy chuckle here and there. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - pexels)

The mind also has an influence on our immune system. Stress and worry can take a toll. Remember to have a laugh here and there even when you’re not in the best of spirits. The act of laughing boosts our immune system’s defense cells, reduces stress and releases the happiness hormone serotonin. In short: Laughing a lot boosts your immune system.

8. Antioxidants From Fruits and Vegetables

Improve your immune system: apples
It’s true: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (Photo: © Utopia/Binford)

Antioxidants help protect our cells from harmful free radicals and put our immune system at ease. This antioxidants boost – that is, from vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances – comes from the food we eat. Foods especially rich in antioxidants are blueberries, tomatoes, apples and potatoes. Antioxidants aren’t just good for our health, they also help to prevent aging.

Improve your immune system with some healthy and nutritious tasty treats: Try our homemade applesauce (sugar-free) or make your own granola bars quickly and sustainably.

9. Medicinal Herbs and Wild Plants

medicinal herbs plants
Herbs are great natural sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. (Foto: CCO Public Domain/ Pixabay - congerdesign)

Medicinal herbs and plants also contain loads of important minerals with antibacterial properties that boost your immune system. Keep your body’s natural defenses in tact with a tasty smoothie or tea.

10. No Boost from Booze: Drink Less Alcohol

Intoxication essentially deactivates your immune system for around 24 hours and leaves you susceptible to illness and infection. Alcohol slows the production of molecules responsible for warning your body of a pending infection. To avoid such a consequence (among others), remember to drink responsibly – that is, in moderation.

If All Else Fails: Cold and Cough Remedies

Sometimes cold season catches up to us whether we like it or not. Preventative measures like those described above aren’t always enough to ward off the nastiest of winter-weather pests. We gathered a number of all-natural do-it-yourself cold and cough remedies to help you get over the sniffles in a jiffy. Check out our homemade cough syrup using honey and onion juice. Surprisingly enough, this homemade cough syrup is rather palatable and mighty sweet once you add a bit of honey or sugar.

Don’t think you can stomach the onion mix just yet? No worries. Our collection of Natural Home Remedies against Colds: Sweet Edition offers enough sweet-smelling natural home remedies to get you back on your feet. For those brave enough for an onion or garlic cure, the Natural Home Remedies against Colds: Stinky Edition collection is here to help. Just remember: Side affects may include garlic breath.

Read more:

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Clogged Ears Remedy: 3 Household Hacks

Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Conquer Seasonal Depression

This article was translated to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Immunsystem stärken: 10 natürliche Tipps für bessere Abwehrkräfte.

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