If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong.
While bolstering your immunity is easier said than done, several dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body’s natural defenses and help you fight harmful pathogens, or disease-causing organisms.
Here are some tips to help you strengthen your immunity naturally.
Eat more whole plant foods
Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.
The fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, or the community of healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immunity and help keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold.
Eat more healthy fats
Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation.
Olive oil, which is highly anti-inflammatory, is linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in salmon and chia seeds, fight inflammation as well.
Eat more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement
Fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto.
Gut health and immunity are deeply interconnected. Fermented foods and probiotics may bolster your immune system by helping it identify and target harmful pathogens.
Limit added sugars
Curbing your sugar intake can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss, thus reducing your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Added sugars contribute significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, all of which can suppress your immune system. Lowering your sugar intake may decrease inflammation and your risk of these conditions.
Engage in moderate exercise
Although prolonged intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can give it a boost.
Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells. Jogging, biking, walking, swimming, and hiking are great options.
Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health.
Given that dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness, be sure you’re drinking plenty of water each day.
Manage your stress levels
Relieving stress and anxiety is key to immune health.
Lowering your stress levels through meditation, yoga, exercise, and other practices can help keep your immune system functioning properly.
Overall, you can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system.
These include reducing your sugar intake, staying hydrated, working out regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing your stress levels.
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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.
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