The immune system is an intricate, complex process that works on a number of levels in the body—but there are simple things you can do on a daily basis that will help improve its ability to defend the body against viruses and stomp out infections. Read on for 10 that you can start doing today!
1. Cook with Garlic
When garlic cloves are crushed or chopped, it spurs the release of a natural compound called allicin, which has been shown to improve the ability of white blood cells to fight off bacteria. Try adding some fresh garlic to sautéed or roasted vegetables, dressing, or a soup or stew. And if you’re up for a challenge, eat a raw clove.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking enough water ensures that your body is able to efficiently remove toxins and potentially harmful bacteria from the body. Aim to drink roughly half your body weight in ounces of water daily, i.e. 6-8 glasses per day.
3. Go for a Walk
Not only will heading outside for a walk—while staying at least six feet away from others—help improve your mental health, but it will also improve your immunity. Sunlight supplies immune-supporting vitamin D, plus enhances the activity of T cells that help fight infections.
4. Work Out at Home
Exercise boosts the activity of the immune system’s antibodies and white blood cells, which can help them detect bacteria more quickly. Raising your body temperature has also been shown to help kill germs. Try one of Power for Life Fitness’s LiveStream classes offered through your community, or follow one of our workout guides:
5. Wash Your Hands
Per the experts, washing your hands with plenty of soap—any kind of soap—and water for 20 seconds is the most effective strategy for protecting yourself against viruses. Scrub multiple times a day!
6. Snack on Citrus
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and clementines are some of nature’s top sources of vitamin C, which supports healthy activity of many of the immune system’s crucial processes. Enjoy one of these fruits as a snack, or get a concentrated dose of vitamin C from a supplement.
7. Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods
The majority of the immune system resides in the gut, where millions of bacteria live and regulate countless bodily processes, including immunity. Support the growth of healthy gut bacteria by enjoying probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir or kombucha.
8. Practice Stress Reduction
Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, so activities that will help keep stress levels down are a must for strengthening your body’s ability to fight off infections. Try activities to help lower your stress levels such as meditating, watching TV or doing a puzzle with your family.
9. Get to Bed Early
A long, restful night’s sleep is a key immunity booster—it gives the body time to relax, recharge and strengthen your immune system anew. You should aim for at least seven hours a night, but can start by getting into bed 15 or 30 minutes earlier than usual.
10. Munch on Veggies
Vegetables are always good for you, but they’re especially important when you’re trying to bolster your body’s defenses: They’re packed with antioxidants, powerful plant compounds that help fight off damaging free radicals. Fill your plate with different colored veggies, like green broccoli, red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and purple beets.