10 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System
How’s your immune system? Chances are pretty good you’ve thought about that at some point during the last couple of months. Is there anything you can do to strengthen your immune system?
Yes. You can’t change your immune system overnight. But you can make healthy lifestyle choices to strengthen your immune system to help protect you from getting sick. When you make healthy living part of your daily life, your immune system will adapt and get stronger over time. Here are 10 things you can do:
- Take care of your gut. Eat foods that support good gut health and support digestion. Try yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and Greek yogurt. Foods high in fiber like whole-cereal, pasta, and oatmeal are good for you, too.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. You might feel lighter and more relaxed after having a drink. But alcohol contains empty calories, and it can lead to impaired judgement, accidents, or worse. No more than 1 drink per day for women (zero if pregnant). No more than two drinks per day for men.
- Get vaccinations. It’s a pretty simple process, and usually only takes a few minutes. It’s a smart way to protect your health, and the health of others around you.
- Be more active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Run or jog. Work in the garden. Dance. Pick an activity you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine.
- Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. Seriously, health experts have laid out all the evidence against cigarettes over the years. It causes cancer, and it raises your risk for a long list of chronic health problems, along with early death.
- Get your Zzzs. If you want to live longer and be healthier, get your Zzzs. That means 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for most people. If that’s hard for you to do, take a short nap during the day.
- Manage stress in healthy ways. Research shows chronic stress can alter hormones linked to appetite, hunger, and metabolism. Too much stress also raises your risk for heart disease and other chronic health problems. Learn to manage stress in healthy ways with things like exercise, meditation, deep breathing. Even making time for a hobby you enjoy can help reduce stress, and help you live longer.
- Wash your hands. There’s certainly been a lot of buzz about this recently. And it can save you from getting sick. Rinse with water. Lather up. Scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse. And dry off with a clean towel. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before meals, and after touching surfaces that could be contaminated with germs.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Chances are pretty good you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that only 9 percent of adults eat enough vegetables, and only 12 percent eat enough fruit. At meal time, half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Check out the MagicKitchen.com menu for lots of meals to choose from made with fresh ingredients.
- Eat less sugar. It’s a pretty simple concept. Sugar is loaded with empty calories. And eating too much raises your risk for weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Cut back on sugary drinks, desserts, and treats.
If you want to live longer, make smart lifestyle choices to strengthen your immune system. You’ll feel better and be healthier.