10 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Immune System

a woman stretching during yoga

No one likes being sick. It usually looks like days curled up on the couch, swaddled in a blanket, coughing until your throat is sore and slowly disappearing under a pile of tissues. Your immune system is your body’s natural defense system – it’s what keeps you from getting sick in the first place. When you make sure your immune system is in peak condition, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of naturally avoiding getting sick. 

While we couldn’t believe more strongly that acupuncture is an effective and essential part of any healthy lifestyle, there are plenty of other ways to keep your immune system in top shape. Today, we’re going to look at ten easy changes you can make to look after your immune system, allowing it to look after you in turn.

1. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, which are important to maintain a healthy body. Antioxidants in particular help decrease inflammation, which can help prevent heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are also an excellent source of fiber, which keeps the healthy bacteria in your digestive system active, which in turn makes it harder for bad bacteria to take hold. As a final bonus, fruits and vegetables have plenty of vitamins, like Vitamin C, that help build you up so you can recover from illnesses more quickly.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

According to a study from the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, adults who get 6 or fewer hours of sleep each night are more likely to catch a cold than their longer-sleeping counterparts. If you do get sick, or if your body is in the process of fighting off a bug, better sleep allows your body to resist the sickness more efficiently. 

Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. If you’re having trouble slipping off to slumberland, make sure that your bedroom is dark, and try to go to sleep at the same time each day. If you’re still struggling with insomnia, consider making an acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture stimulates the production of melatonin, which is what cues your body to start easing down for the night, making it easier for you to drift off to sleep.

3. Exercise

The trick with this one isn’t to exhaust yourself every day (that can actually weaken your immune system). Instead, focus on getting regular, moderate exercise. Think of activities like brisk walking, jogging, or swimming. This does several things for your body: in addition to keeping your muscles and your blood vessels strong, it also reduces inflammation and can reduce stress, which in turn helps you sleep more deeply at night.

4. Reduce Your Stress Levels

It’s amazing how much of an impact stress has on our health. If you’re stressed or anxious over a long period of time, it can contribute to increased inflammation and may even make it harder for your cells to respond to attacks on your system. Meditation is a great way to de-stress at home, and it can be done pretty well anywhere. Acupuncture can not only reduce the stress you feel but can even reverse the damage caused by it. 

5. Avoid Smoking

Smoking’s awful for your lungs, which are what supply your body with the oxygen it needs to run, but it can also upset your immune system, throwing it out of balance and making it harder for your body to recognize intruders. The tar and toxins in smoke destroy your natural antibodies, making it harder to fight off sickness when it arrives. 

Smoke can also damage or paralyze the tiny little structures called cilia in your lungs, which usually help keep you breathing easily by removing dirt or bacteria. When your cilia can’t work the way they should, your lungs might not be able to get rid of the debris as easily, setting you up for sickness.

6. Add Healthy Fat to Your Diet

Foods rich in healthy fats, like salmon, chia seeds, and olive oil, also help your body reduce inflammation. Fatty Omega-3 acids (found in fish like trout, herring, and tuna) are especially helpful, as they encourage the production of anti-inflammatory compounds, preventing inflammation from occurring as easily. Plus, there are even studies linking Omega-3 to suppressing the growth of cancer.

7. If You Drink Alcohol, Do So Responsibly

Alcohol affects your entire body, including the cytokine cells that are responsible for sounding the alert about an infection. If you drink too much, too often, you’re crippling your immune system and making it very hard for your body to fight back the way it wants to. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than two drinks per day.

8. Drink Plenty of Water

If alcohol slows down your immune system, think of water as the oil that keeps it humming along smoothly. When our bodies become dehydrated, it opens us up to a whole host of afflictions – headaches, poor digestion, dour moods, and more – which, in turn, put a strain on the immune system and make infections and illnesses more likely to take hold. Make sure you’re hydrating regularly throughout the day, and if you haven’t had some water yet today – well, go get a glass! 

9. Have a Laugh (Yes, Really!)

For a healthy immune system, throw on a blockbuster comedy or an online video of your favorite comedian. How’s that for a tip? But it’s true – laughter increases production of antibodies and white blood cells, which are what your body needs to recognize and fight illnesses. So go ahead and laugh and guffaw – it’s fun, and it’s good for you.

10. Add Some Spice to Your Life

Life’s just better with some seasoning, and your daily meals are no exception. However, treating yourself to a tasty extravaganza can also help give your immune system some support. Garlic and onions are great sources of compounds that not only make it harder for you to get sick but can also reduce the amount of time that you’re sick for. Chile peppers, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, and black pepper all bring similar benefits to the table, so when dinner’s simmering away, add in some spices for a tastier meal and a healthier body.

If you’re still interested in perking up your immune system, consider acupuncture. Acupuncture is a holistic system of healthcare that addresses and treats the entire body, including your immune system. From helping you sleep more easily to enhancing your natural recuperative power, it’s tailored to address your unique health challenges and goals.

For more information on acupuncture and how it can benefit your immune system, give us a call at (201) 843-3633. You can also send us a message online to request a telehealth appointment.

June 17, 2020