10 Strategies To Strengthen Your Immune System This Autumn
Being healthy has never been as important as it is today. In fact, Covid-19 has taught us how an invisible enemy can destroy lives, disrupt families, and affect our general health. And, as this virus started to affect millions of people and families around the globe, we have all become more conscious about how our choices impact the immune system – and our general health.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been a few waves, most of which started during the season when the immune system is at its lowest: in autumn and winter. Because of this, it is vital to look after your health and ensure that your body’s natural defenses are ready to face the challenges of this upcoming autumnal season.
Review Your Diet
Studies have confirmed that our diet – and the changes that it triggers in the gut microbiome – is strictly related to the strength and quality of the immune system’s response. Simply, this means that what you eat plays a vital role in helping you remain healthy and protected from infections.
At the same time, health conditions such as obesity and being overweight, which today affect over 73% of US adults, lead to additional diseases and a weak immune system.
Ultimately, health does start on the kitchen table – here are three golden rules to follow.
Eating seasonally means cutting down on pesticides and chemicals, and making a much more sustainable choice for your health and the environment. To know what is available at a certain time of the year in your area, the best way is to speak to a local farmer or visit a farm. If you wish to make this experience more social, consider visiting your local farmer’s market.
Predilect Whole, Plant-Based Foods
Not all plant-based diets can help you look after your health, especially if you still eat a lot of processed foods. However, certain plant-based diets that focus on whole, unprocessed foods, can truly help you reduce the risk of colds and flu. However, these diets can also reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic, debilitating diseases. New studies have also found that following a clean, unprocessed plant-based diet can help lessen the symptoms of Covid-19.
Know Your Immune-Boosting Foods
All foods make us full, but not all of them nourish us. If you are looking to eat to strengthen the immune system and receive all the vitamins your body needs to fight disease and infection, some foods are better than others. Your nutritionist will be able to help you choose, here are just a few must-haves:
- Citrus fruits
- Red bell peppers
- Green tea
- Sunflower seeds
Get Your Beauty Sleep
The average adult needs between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night – but some people might need even more. However, sleeping, and ensuring that you have a regular sleeping pattern, is not just about being tired or lazy. In fact, sleeping is one of the body’s essential functions. Without a proper night’s sleep, you will feel tired and experience disruptions in your daily life. Some of the benefits of a good night’s sleep include:
- It strengthens the immune system
- It regulates mood
- It prevents you from being tired and sleepy during the day
- It can improve your ability to focus and cognitive skills
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight and protects your digestive system
- It protects your memory and is essential to retain information
- It can reduce inflammation and pain
Ultimately, sleeping in the way of the body to restore lost energy and repair any damages that might have happened during the day. A good night’s sleep can also help your body be at its strongest if it becomes exposed to a virus or infection.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking a lot of water might not directly protect you from viruses, infections, and germs. However, dehydration can actively disrupt some of your most important bodily functions! Without enough water, your body will struggle to eliminate toxins, you will feel tired and fatigued, and the whole digestive and cardiovascular systems can be affected.
If you find yourself in this condition, your body’s natural defenses will be at their lowest, and you will naturally be more prone to illness. Luckily, you can simply prevent this by drinking plenty of water, cutting down on artificial sugars, and preferring natural and unprocessed foods. Remember to drink even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty!
Vaccinations are essential to protect you from illnesses and diseases, especially seasonal strains like the flu. In fact, while for some flu won’t be much more than just a cold or a few days indoors, for others it can be a life-threatening disease, make sure to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting the necessary seasonal vaccinations. And, if it is already accessible for you where you live, make sure to get vaccinated against Covid-19!
Understand Your Allergies
An increasing percentage of kids and adults suffer from long-term or seasonal allergies. Allergies can manifest themselves in many forms, including wheezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. In the most severe cases, allergies can end up causing anaphylactic shocks and threatening asthma attacks. It is also important to notice that unaddressed seasonal allergies can worsen the immune system, causing you to become more prone to flu and colds.
If you are unsure whether you are dealing with a cold or it is just your seasonal allergies flaring up again, make sure to check out these expert 5 ways to tell your seasonal allergies from a cold.
Cut Down on Harmful Substances
Substances such as tobacco and alcohol can affect your immune system, especially if consumed regularly or in excess. These substances can also affect your health in many other ways.
For example, drinking can disrupt your sleep and cause you to feel fatigued, tired, and unmotivated, which, in turn, can cause you to give up on your exercise routine. The result of this chain of events is that you might feel out of shape, unable to control your weight, and more exposed to the attack of pathogens. Similar reactions are caused by certain medications and tobacco smoke.
Make sure to speak to your healthcare provider to find the professional help you need to leave these habits behind.
Exercise Every Day
Of course, exercise is essential to help you maintain your weight and achieve the body silhouette you desire. But exercising is also important for many other reasons. Firstly, regular exercise triggers reactions that suppress inflammation and promote cell regeneration.
Additionally, physical activity encourages the body to release endorphins, which are the happy hormone. This hormone can help you feel happier, healthier, and more motivated, which, in turn, can encourage you to exercise and move more. All of this can be greatly beneficial for your immune system.
Remember that there is more than a way in which you can exercise to look after your immune system. In fact, you could be lifting weights, running, cycling, jogging, or even walking. Yet, disciplines such as yoga and pilates can be just as beneficial!
Socializing is essential to look after your immune system. Especially after the many months spent indoors, it is essential to restart to build important relationships and links with others. After all, no person is an island – we all need to have a support system and a community in place!
At the same time, social interactions can be the motivation you need to live a much healthier and active lifestyle. Practices such as volunteering, helping others, and making some of your time available to the local community can help create a sense of purpose. This kind of motivation, in turn, can help you feel happier and more satisfied with your life, which is essential to keep at bay a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and dementia.
Reducing stress is not only important to improve the quality of your life. In fact, managing stress levels and reducing anxiety is key to strengthening and protecting your immune health.
In fact, stress, especially when sustained and unaddressed, can cause imbalances in the immune cell functions. It can also promote inflammation, create sleep disturbances, affect skin health, and make it harder for your body to recover from injury. These factors, when combined, can significantly inhibit your immune system.
At the same time, reducing stress levels is not always easy for anyone. In fact, you will need to entirely rethink your routine, putting in place healthy habits that allow you to live your life in a much calmer and focused way. Some activities can help you better manage stress, and these include:
- Mindful eating
- Disciplines such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates
- Spending time in nature
- Spending time with friends
Remember, if you feel like you need professional help, a counselor or psychologist can help you get to the root of the issue and solve it faster.
Take the Necessary Supplements
Supplements can help you integrate and replenish those nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that you might not be able to get from food. While they are essential for healthy living, remember to be smart about taking supplements. Not all of them are necessary or beneficial. And, if you are looking to naturally protect your body, you should consider the following alternatives, which are natural extracts that can help you remain protected from colds, flu, viruses, and infections:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Remember to always consult a healthcare professional before committing to these supplements!