If you want to boost your immune system, whether to avoid colds or protect yourself now that quarantine is lifting, there are lots of things you can do. Boosting your immune system can be done through simple several lifestyle and dietary changes to strengthen your body’s natural defences.
Eat More Fermented Foods Or Take A Probiotic Supplement
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which are good bacteria that populate your digestive tract. Add yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kefir to your diet.
A healthy network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells tell the difference between healthy cells and dangerous invaders.
If you don’t like fermented foods, you can add probiotics and prebiotics to your diet instead. If you decide to do this, check with your doctor or compounding pharmacy that they won’t interact with any medications you take.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough or getting poor quality sleep can make you a lot more likely to get ill.
Adults who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep well. Sleep supports the immune system, which is you want to sleep when you’re unwell.
Adults should try to get seven or more hours of sleep every night. Teenagers need eight to ten hours, and younger children and infants need fourteen hours of sleep.
If you find it hard to sleep, limit your screentime for the hour before you go to bed, as the blue light that your TV, computer, and phone give off can disturb your body’s natural cycle of sleeping and waking. Try sleeping in a dark room, using a sleep mask, and going to bed at the same time every night too.
Eat More Whole Plant Foods
Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
The fibre that is found in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, which is the community of healthy bacteria found in your gut. A strong gut microbiome can help to support your immunity and prevent harmful pathogens from getting into the body through your digestive tract.
Fruits and vegetables are also packed with all kinds of healthy nutrients like vitamin C which can reduce how long illnesses like a winter cold will last. You might get ill, but you won’t be ill for as long.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, such as the ones that are found in foods like olive oil and salmon, can support your immune response against pathogens by working to decrease inflammation. Low-level inflammation is a normal response to stress or an injury, but chronic inflammation can cause problems for your immune system.
Olive oil is anti-inflammatory and has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 Diabetes. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help your body to fight harmful bacteria and the viruses that cause illness.
Omega-3 fatty acids, like the ones that are found in salmon and chia seeds, can help to fight inflammation too.