10 Basic Strategies to Boost Your Immune System
There are many things we can do to help prevent illness throughout the coming season. Here's a reminder of some basic strategies you can implement at home to help boost immunity and keep everyone healthy.
(Read More: Check Dr. Connors' full article 'Surviving the Season' in the Fall 2014 issue of The Holistic Parent.)
- Eat fresh whole foods: Eating a variety of these foods, including plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, is essential to proper immune function.
- Avoid refined sugars, trans fats and salt: These foods are known to weaken the immune system.
- Increase your consumption of vitamin C-containing foods: Vitamin C is known to boost immune function and help prevent cold and flu. Increase vitamin C-containing foods such as: oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, black currants, peppers, spring greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower.
- Eat more garlic and onions: Garlic and onions both have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, helping the body to fight off any germs it may come into contact with. Raw consumption provides a greater benefit than cooked.
- Drink up: Ensuring you are adequately hydrated will help enhance your immune system. Aim for half your weight in fluid ounces (ex. If you weigh 150 lbs, you should consume 75 oz of water a day). For breastfeeding mamas, this means continue breastfeeding because your breast milk contains lots of antibodies and other immune supporting ingredients.
- Sleep: Ensure you are getting eight hours of sleep per night and that you are sleeping soundly. Too little non-restorative sleep is known to weaken the immune system.
- Exercise: Engage in at least 20 minutes of physical activity per day. Exercise helps to increase circulation and lympathic flow, both of which help boost the immune system.
- Breathe: Practice deep breathing exercises to help manage stress. High stress, fear and worry can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections.
- Wash hands: Wash your hands frequently using warm water and a natural anti-bacterial soap to prevent the spread of infection.
- Cover your Cough: Cough and sneeze into your tissue or sleeve to prevent spreading infection and avoid touching your nose, mouth, eyes until hands are washed.