As summer fades into autumn, another season also begins – cold and flu season. While cold temperatures alone don’t cause viral infections, a lowered core body temperature can weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Help yourself stay healthy with these six immune-boosting strategies.
Choose Immune-Boosting Herbs
A variety of herbs can help your immune system fight off illness:
- Echinacea tea helps fight off upper respiratory tract infections, including cold and flu viruses.
- Panax ginseng contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Garlic doubles as an antibacterial and immune booster.
- Ginger promotes healthy lung function and may help reduce cholesterol.
- Turmeric helps protect the liver and adrenal glands from toxins and inflammation.
- Sage extract helps cleanse mucus from the respiratory tract and alleviates nasty coughs.
Reduce Your Stress
Excess stress weakens your body’s ability to fight off infections. Psychological stress in particular has been shown to compromise immune function. You can reduce your stress levels through exercises such as walking, jogging, yoga and pilates. Incorporate meditation and deep-breathing exercises into your day to flush out stress. Music can also be a powerful stress-relieving tool. Learn to let the little things go, and treat yourself to a nice meal or relaxing bath to help unwind. For more ways to help reduce stress, check out our blog post “9 Natural Stress Management Techniques.”
Sleep allows the body to repair itself, heal wounds, regulate hormones and refresh the mind. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep weakens the immune system and invites cold and flu infections. To promote healthy sleep, avoid eating or exercising close to bedtime, keep your bedroom well-ventilated, and go to bed around the same time every day. If you suffer from sleep apnea, ask your doctor about treatments such as oral appliance therapy. Other pre-sleep rituals that may help include reading a book, drinking a small glass of warm milk and playing ambient noise – especially if you live in a noisy neighborhood.
Detox through Diet
Detoxification is the process of cleansing the body of environmental and food-related toxins. To help detox through diet, consider some of these foods:
- Oregano oil has been shown to eradicate bad bacteria living inside the gut.
- Green and leafy vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach boost immune function by eliminating toxins from the liver.
- Healthy fats and amino acids found in foods such as avocado, soybeans, and almonds support a healthy adrenal function, a key component of overall immune health.
In general, try to choose foods high in soluble fiber and antioxidants, which work together to flush out bad cholesterol and free radicals. Smart choices include oatmeal, flax, carrots, blackberries, and navel oranges. For more on eating right to help cleanse your body, check out our blog post “9 Detox Foods to Add to Your Diet.”
Take Supplements if Necessary
While a healthy diet usually provides all the necessary immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, certain health conditions can hinder the body’s ability to fully absorb these nutrients. Talk to your doctor to determine if dietary supplements can help you stave off viral infections and achieve greater overall health.
Regular Infrared Sauna Use
Spending regular time in an infrared sauna can also help boost the immune system. Infrared saunas raise core body temperature, helping to keep the immune system strong and in good working order. Regular infrared sauna use can also help with some of these other immune-boosting strategies. Spending time in an infrared sauna can help draw toxins out of the body, lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Some users even report that spending time in an infrared sauna helps them to sleep better at night.