Whether you have exciting vacation plans or you are completing an important project at work, most likely getting sick will not fit in with your plans. Those working in germ-ridden environments such as teachers, cashiers, doctors, or nurse practitioners might also want to take precautions to avoid getting sick. Below are some nutrients, foods, and lifestyle changes to help increase immunity.
The live cultures in probiotics, especially Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacteria, can help strengthen the immune system by boosting white blood cell production. Good sources include yogurt and kefir. If you don’t like yogurt, ask your pharmacist to recommend a probiotic supplement that is good at boosting immune system.
LIke probiotics, zinc can also increase the production of white blood cells and help boost immune function. However, it is important to not have too much zinc in the body. Since excess sources of zinc can impair the immune system, it is best to stick with natural food sources of this mineral. Some foods containing zinc include oyster, crab, grade fed beef, and beans. Other sources of zinc include swiss chard, collard greens, summer squash, and winter squash.
Vitamin C is the number one immune boosting nutrient. The human body does not produce any Vitamin C on its own, so it is important to get enough of this important nutrient. It has both antiviral and antibacterial effects. Some common fruits with a lot of Vitamin C are strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, oranges, and grapefruit. If you would like to add a little variety, try mixing in some guava and papaya. Or, for some vegetable sources of Vitamin C, try fresh parsley, raw cauliflower, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce. If you think you are getting sick, it might also be helpful to boost intake with some Vitamin C supplements.
Though they are not usually recommended as an immune system booster, the antioxidants and selenium can actually help you take fewer sick days. Mushrooms have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects. This must be some exotic type of mushroom, right? Wrong! The widely available white button mushrooms are believed to be some of the best immune boosters. Those wanting to explore other options should also try out varieties of mushroom such as Reichi, Maitake, and Shitake.
Containing 20 amino acids essential for growth and repair, protein helps the body fight infection and resist disease. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should rush out and eat some fried chicken and a hamburger. The quality of the protein is very important as well. Try to fit in high-quality, complete protein foods such as eggs, fish, shellfish, and venison. Vegetarians can also help out their immune systems by fitting in protein sources such as beans and certain vegetables.
Praised for a number of popular benefits, such as boosting brain function and even skin appearance, Omega-3 Fatty Acids have also been praised for their anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, low levels of Omega-3s can lead to inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. Great sources include salmon, tuna, sardines, edamame, walnuts, and leafy green vegetables.
Even if you are getting enough zinc and probiotics, it is also important to limit sugar intake. Sugar can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs and can lower immune system function. Try to avoid soda and sugary processed foods. Also make sure to drink plenty of water to flush the system and also limit excess sugar intake by eating whole natural foods.
Exercising three to four times a week for even 20 minutes can help increase immunity. Exercise also increases circulation and reduces the risk of some diseases. Any exercise that will cause the body to sweat is super beneficial, since sweat naturally helps the body to flush out harmful toxins.
During sleep, the body rests and repairs cells. Not getting enough sleep can harm the immune system and make it easier to get sick. Those wanting to stay healthy should aim for at least seven to eight hours a night.
If it’s too late and you are already sick, check out some licensed practical nurse myths and tips about colds and other ailments. Bonus, some of the same foods, nutrients, and lifestyle changes that protect us from getting sick also can help fend off diseases such as cancer and heart disease.