How to Keep a Healthy Immune System This Winter
Your immune system is critical to your overall health as it provides you with the first line of defense against illness. It leverages chemicals and proteins to ward off viruses, infections, parasites, and harmful bacteria. And with a healthy immune system, you are less likely to get sick. So as the winter approaches and the season of colds and flus is upon us, now is the time to study how you can keep a healthy immune system.
A healthy immune system creates a barrier that stops invaders and antigens from entering our bodies. And if those invaders slip through the cracks, your immune system will produce white blood cells, various chemicals, and proteins that will get to work by attacking and destroying those foreign substances. Your immune system is brilliant and can recognize thousands and thousands of different antigens. Further, the immune system can produce what is needed to get rid of nearly all of them. Your healthy immune system can keep problems ranging from cancer to the common cold under control when it’s working properly.
So, if you are wondering how to boost your immune system, we have made it easy for you. Read on for seven natural immune system boosters that can help you maintain a healthy immune system this winter.
1. Avoid stress wherever possible.
Over time, stress stemming from continued strain on your body can contribute to serious health problems. Stress is highly correlated with the onset of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. Further, stress can lead to mental disorders such as depression or anxiety when it isn’t properly mitigated. So, adults who take steps to avoid stress or manage it appropriately have a far better chance of maintaining a healthy immune system during the winter than those who do not.
2. Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. And though it is important to eat healthy foods throughout the year, try incorporating more legumes (lentils and beans), foods from animal sources such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, and fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. And if you want to select healthy foods that are good for your oral health too, focus on calcium-rich foods like low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese. Raw vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and celery are great choices too. Finally, be sure to incorporate some staples such as wheat, rye, barley, rice, or maize, or starchy tubers or root vegetables like yam, potato, taro, or cassava Additionally, avoid sugar which is bad for your teeth.
3. Get some Vitamin D by spending some time outdoors.
Though it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by using sunscreen, a small dose of sunlight every day is actually quite good for your body and ability to maintain a healthy immune system. Not only does a dose of sun help elevate your Vitamin D levels, but it can also lessen your chances of developing seasonal affective disorder, which can lead to depression. The best way to boost your vitamin D is by getting ten to 30 minutes of early afternoon sunlight several times per week.
4. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.
Sleep plays an integral role in helping you maintain a healthy immune system. You need sleep to protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Ongoing sleep deficiency increases your risk of developing certain chronic health problems and can negatively impact how well you think, react, work, learn, and interact with others. On average, adults need a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night. So, if you aren’t catching enough shut-eye, now is a good time to start getting to bed a bit earlier each night.
5. Get in some moderate exercise a few times per week.
When we get busy, it can be easy to push exercise to the wayside. But regular exercise can help you with weight management, lower your blood pressure, and lessen your blood cholesterol level and risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers. Exercise also helps to strengthen your joints and muscles, making you less susceptible to a fall. Plus, when you get more exercise, it makes it easier to fall asleep at night. Exercise provides a win-win situation.
6. Don’t underestimate the significance of fresh air.
During the winter months, we tend to stay indoors more often. And when we’re sitting inside all the time, we tend to breathe more shallowly, and obviously, we get less fresh air. We’re more likely to move our bodies when we get outside, which encourages increased diaphragmatic breathing. This means that we are breathing more deeply, bringing more air deep into our lungs. Then, when we exhale, we can expel airborne toxins from our bodies, thus helping us cleanse from the inside. You have likely picked up on the common theme here — getting outside gets us fresh air, encourages exercise, and gets us Vitamin D. So it truly is an important part of boosting your immune system.
7. Practice good oral hygiene.
Our mouths serve as the gateway to the rest of our body. When we take good care of our teeth and gums, we’re doing our entire body good. But more specifically, good oral hygiene practices like brushing our teeth twice a day, flossing once per day, and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash will help reduce our chances of developing tooth decay.
Don’t forget a twice annual trip to your favorite dentist in Wasilla, AK.
By practicing the above seven natural immune system boosters, you’ll do your body a lot of good. Not only will you help encourage a healthy immune system, but you’ll feel better overall. In addition to adopting these good habits, you need to ensure you are seeing your medical provider once a year for a health check-up, and your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination. So if you’re overdue for your dental cleaning, now is the time to request an appointment with Valley Dental Clinic. We look forward to seeing you.