If you’re looking for how to boost your immune system, you are in the right place. Today I’m going to walk you through eleven ways you can strengthen your immunity.
Everybody (and their mother) is searching for how to boost their immune system. And you know what? I get it. You want to be proactive and do what you can to help your family and friends, and yourself be and stay well. It’s one of the many reasons I became a Health Coach. See, in addition to being a writer, I’m a mom of three.
Two teenage girls (one 19, one 12) and one eight year old son – who has autism. Look, life is always crazy around here, especially now, and considering I’m writing a book, and attempting to home school my kids, and all of the other things, I probably do not have time to be doing a deep dive into immune system building. But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in COVID 19 related information – namely – a ton of BS.
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Here’s the deal – there is a ton of bad advice making its rounds around the internet. People aren’t checking their facts – they aren’t checking their sources before sharing, and people are being misled.
And what’s even worse, tons of folks are falling for schemey scam artists who use fear-mongering tactics to sell them useless garbage in the name of good health.
So – full disclaimer: we’re going with a BS-free approach with today’s all-inclusive, ultimate guide to how to boost your immune system.
Now, before we begin, I want you to know there is no magic vitamin, supplement, or diet that leads to overnight health.
But, there are several legitimate healthy habits you can implement to keep your immune system strong
#1: Wash Your Hands
Here’s the thing – you may not know it, but you touch your face something like 100 times a day.
When you touch your eyes – put on makeup, do a booger check – pull that nose hair that came out of nowhere – or casually wipe your mouth, you’re inviting germs into your body.
And you know what? It’s hard to stop touching your face 24/7, but it’s easy to wash your hands.
Washing your hands lowers your risk of getting sick by removing any germs you may have picked up from – oh, I don’t know – everywhere and everyone?
Is it convenient to wash your hands every time you use the restroom, touch a doorknob, handle food, or push a grocery cart?
Is it worth your time?
Washing Your Hands Step By Step
Use soap and water to scrub your hands as if you were a surgeon scrubbing in before surgery – for a full 20 seconds.
It does not matter if it is hot or cold water – that’s more of a comfort thing than a scientific idea. Just make sure you cover the surface area of your hands, between your fingers and your fingernails.
Twenty seconds seems like forever if you’re frequently washing or you’re in a line in a public bathroom – I teach my kids to sing the Happy Birthday song – twice. It makes the time go by and makes the process a little less cumbersome.
Make sure you follow up by drying your hands with a clean, bacteria-free towel or let them air dry.
Then do your level best not to touch your face: don’t pick your nose, or your teeth, don’t mess with your eyelashes – you see where I’m going with this, right?
Fabulous – let’s move on.
#2: Stay Away From Sugar (Especially Sugary Drinks)
The truth is, nobody knows the full impact sugar has on our immune system, but what we do know is that too much sugar causes inflammation, which leads to serious health issues.
Consuming too many (or any) sugary drinks may be the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to stay well.
One can of soda causes an immediate spike in inflammation and compromises your immunity for several hours.
Bottom Line: If you are trying to boost your immune system – stay away from sugar.
#3: Drink More Water + Then Drink Some More
Live by the 8X8 rule – take in at least eight 8-ounces glasses of water per day. Staying hydrated helps your body eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness.
Fight the urge to pour another cup of coffee or mix an adult beverage – caffeine and alcohol work against you hydration-wise.
#4: Replace Your Toothbrush (& Reconsider Where You Keep It)
Did you know that viruses spread from toothbrush to toothbrush? Yeah, it was a new concept for me too, and I’m a low key germaphobe.
Look, especially if you share your space with others, do not store your toothbrush on the bathroom counter next to everybody else’s.
Find another use for that super cute toothbrush holder and please, hear me on this – replace your toothbrush after every cold and flu to stay well.
#5: Get Enough Sleep
Your body is more susceptible to stress without a good night’s sleep – we’re talking 7-8 hours worth. You cannot boost your immune system when you’re sleep-deprived.
#6: Stop Smoking (Or Vaping)
If you’ve been waiting on the “right time” to quit – here’s your sign. Both smoking and vaping compromise your lung health and puts you at risk of developing respiratory illnesses.
#7: Eat More Healthy Foods To Boost Your Immune System
This one you know – fill your plate with more fruits and vegetables and less garbage.
Citrus fruits, almonds, fish, mushrooms, garlic, and onions are all associated with a strong immune system.
#8: Stress Less
Yeah, I know it is easier said than done, but living in a state of constant anxiety is not only a vibe killer – it’s a disaster for your immune system.
Big Facts: Your brain is powerful, negative thoughts, anxiety, worry – being a Debbie Downer- all lead to a vicious cycle that creates illness.
Stress decreases your white blood cells – you know, the ones that are responsible for helping you fight off a cold, virus or flu.
Here’s the breakdown:
Negative thoughts lead to stress.
Stress leads your body to produce cortisol – the stress hormone.
High levels of cortisol negatively impact the immune system.
Here’s the thing – in small amounts, cortisol can boost immunity by limiting inflammation.
But – and this is a big Sir Mix A lot style butt here, over time your body gets used to this cortisol effect and next thing you know you’ve got an inflammation-palooza going on in your body, which is not going to boost your immune system.
High levels of inflammation are associated with poor health and a range of chronic conditions.
How To De-Stress & Boost Your Immune System
When you laugh, you increase your oxygen intake, which stimulates your lungs, heart, and muscles and increases your feel-good endorphins.
Laughing also stimulates circulation and reduces the physical symptoms of stress.
Also, its damn near impossible to be a stress case when you are laughing so hard you pee a little.
Not that that has ever happened to me….
Head over to YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, or TikTok – and find a go-to source of laughter.
I love watching old Saturday Night Live videos – I love these SNL holiday family overload themes, and anything featuring Stefan is hilarious.
10 minutes of meditating per day reduces stress, decreases anxiety, improves cardiovascular health, and helps you relax.
Start a gratitude journal
Studies show that cultivating a sense of gratitude helps you maintain a more positive mood in daily life and contributes to emotional wellness. Try starting each day by listing ten things you are grateful for.
Stop the negative self talk
Be aware of the way you speak to yourself. When you notice your thoughts taking a negative turn, try to redirect yourself to more positive thinking. Try these positive affirmations to get started.
#9: Move Your Body
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. Thirty minutes of walking, yoga, and stretching does a world of good for your mind, body, soul, and immune system.
Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways – reducing your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
Exercise also slows down the release of stress hormones. And when you consider the fact that stress increases the chance of getting sick, it is worth sweating it out for 30 minutes – or 15 – do what you can handle.
Ways To Get Moving When Going To The Gym Is Out Of The Question
Do not forget to stretch a little to warm up – if you skip stretching; then you may pull something and be in complete misery for the next few days.
Walk – Walk outside if you can, if that is not an option then walk around your house picking up your family’s crap for half an hour (see suggestions below)
Yoga Online -I’m more of a cardio chick, but I’m trying to do at least 10 minutes of yoga per day – and I do like this Yoga for Beginners video series from Sarah Beth Yoga
The Fitness Marshall – He’s my man. Check out my favorite workouts (and a video of me attempting the choreography here)
Jumping Jacks – If you’re a beginner – start with ten jacks per day – if you’ve been working on your fitness a lot lately – go with 25 Warning: A decent sports bra is a must-have for this.
Picking Up Your Kids Toys – If you’re bending anyway you might as well incorporate some lunges and squats
Jump on your kids mini-trampoline (Sports Bra Required)
Kitchen Dance Party – Fire up a motivating playlist and dance in your kitchen – you might as well you’re going to be in there a lot
#10: Let’s Talk About Sex
When I saw that the search “does masturbation boost immunity,” was trending I was a little shocked. I even clutched my pretend pearl necklace, and considered texting my book club.
Instead, I got real and got to researching if it does.
It turns out; I couldn’t find any significant scientific studies that support a definite link between working towards or having the big O and immunity.
But – and this is another big ole butt – there are lots of benefits that come along with enjoying adult time. With one dedicated partner, of course:)
The truth is, according to Dr. Oz, having sex once or twice a week can boost your immune system, having sex three times a week will make you look seven years younger, and help you live longer.
Oh, and did I mention it may save your sanity and your relationship?
When you have sex, and experience an orgasm, your body releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin – which relaxes you, makes you feel content and serves as nature’s antibody to the stress hormone, cortisol.
I think we can agree that all of these things are good, right?
#11: Vitamins That Support A Healthy Immune System
The truth is, most folks do not need a mega supplement or vitamin – the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is from the food you eat. Here are a few of the best sources of vitamins that support your immune system.
Vitamin C + Vitamin E
Both Vitamin C and E are antioxidants. Antioxidants help support the body’s natural immune response and help destroy free radicals.
Vitamin C helps immune function, bone structure, iron absorption, and helps keep our skin healthy.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant in the human body that helps the immune system fight infections.
Sources of Vitamin C
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Peppers
- Red Peppers
- Yellow Peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
Sources of Vitamin E
- Sunflower seeds
- Grapeseed Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Swiss Chard
Vitamin B-6 (also known as pyridoxine) is essential for brain development, a healthy nervous system, and a healthy immune system.
Sources of Vitamin B6
- Turkey breast
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Chicken breasts
- Blackstrap Molasses
Beta carotene is a safe dietary source of vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight the effects of free radicals and support your immune system.
- Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin – meaning most folks get theirs from the sun. But if your D level is low (like mine), you may need a supplement. Fair warning: you’ll need a blood test to confirm whether your Vitamin D level is adequate.
- Cod Liver Oil
- Canned Tuna
Our bodies use zinc to build immune system cells. It metabolizes nutrients, maintains your immune system, and grows and repairs body tissues.
Sources of Zinc
- Red meat
And on that note, it’s time for me to wrap this up. Let’s review the key takeaways to boost your immune system:
Ways To Boost Your Immune System
Wash Your Hands
Stay Away from Sugar
Get 8 hours of sleep
Eat healthy foods. Get a natural immune system boost from superfoods like turkey tail mushrooms.
Decrease anxiety with laughter, meditation, or by starting a gratitude journal
Move your body
Get your daily recommended intake of vitamins from food
Stay healthy and well! And please share these tips!