Earnest Parenting.com logo

Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Cold and flu season is approaching, so it’s time to start taking extra care of your immune system. Your immune system is your body’s line of defense against foreign bodies and germs, and if it’s not in good shape it can quickly ruin your holiday season. Follow these six simple tricks to help boost your immune system and stop colds before they start.

Exercise More
Lack of exercise can leave you feeling sluggish and even depressed. By incorporating just 30 minutes of exercise a day into your routine, you can boost the production of infection fighting leukocytes and get antibodies and white blood cells pumping through your body. Lack of exercise in your life can also lead to other immune system killers like poor sleep habits and obesity. The exercise should be frequent and moderate. Do not over-stress yourself at the gym, or your immune system will be temporarily compromised. So go on a hike, swim some laps, or take up yoga, just get your body moving.
woman jogging up outdoor steps

Eat Right
Cleaning up your diet is probably the best thing you can do for your immune system. Poor nutrition has been shown to increase infections, susceptibility to illnesses, and slow healing from injuries and infections. Research has shown that nutrition plays a major role in supporting the production and action of cells in the immune system. Protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and certain vitamins, and minerals are all key to having a healthy immune system. Also try eating foods high in vitamin C like fresh parsley, raw cauliflower, strawberries and romaine lettuce. Green tea, which is packed full of polyphenols and natural plant antioxidants, is also a good choice when trying to boost your immune system.

Drink More Water

Adequate hydration has a huge impact on your immune system. Water helps flush out toxins and ensures that your cells get enough oxygen so they can function properly. Water also helps with the production of lymph, which carries nutrients to the cells.

The next time you want an ice cold Coke to wash down your meal, remember this: if you consume just 2 of those sugary 12-oz drinks a day, you’ll limit your white blood cell’s ability to fight off and destroy bacteria. Replace your sugary drinks with a lot of fresh, clean water. If you need a sweet fix, go for some coconut water or organic vegetable or fruit juice. Make sure it’s 100% juice and not a juice cocktail which can have just as much sugar as a soda.

Get Enough Sleep
woman asleep on pillow
Lack of sleep can cause serious health problems. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. When you don’t get enough sleep, cytokine production decreases, as well as infection-fighting antibodies and cells, causing your immune system to crash. Aim for seven to eight hours of good sleep each night to keep your immune system working optimally.

Avoid Alcohol

While one or two drinks might not be the end of the world, excessive drinking is toxic to dendritic cells which are play an important role in searching for and destroying invading microbes in the body. This inability to fight off invaders could lead to serious infections.

Aside from being detrimental to your immune system, excessive drinking can also negatively impact your body in a myriad of ways. If you’re unable to stop at just one drink, consider Alcoholism Treatment at 12 Keys to prevent doing lasting damage to your body.

Decrease Your Stress

Short term stress increases your cortisol levels to prepare your body for “fight or flight” mode and this can actually give you a little boost. However, extended release of cortisol and adrenaline in your body due to chronic stress can actually suppress your immune system.

Chronic stress can also lead people to partake in body damaging coping activities like drinking, binge eating, and lack of exercise. Developing some go-to stress reducers in your life like mediation or yoga, can help regulate your cortisol and adrenaline when a rough situation arises.

Your immune system takes care of you, so try some of these simple tricks to help take care of your immune system.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to protect their family’s health.

Images courtesy of ZAGGORA, DashamaYoga, and RelaxingMusic via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.