When the common cold and flu seasons come, we kick it into gear naturally with all the best tricks for how to build your immune system and decrease your risk of getting sick.
We’ve compiled a list of tips for immunity strength that you can start implementing into your daily routine today.
From exercising outdoors to taking probiotic drinks or pills, here are 14 tips to improve your immune system.
Eliminating stress is one of the best ways to boost your immune system naturally. When we feel stressed, our immune system can’t fight off antigens as well, which makes us more prone to infection. It’s often easier said than done, but finding ways to positively combat your stress will help your body’s ability to ward off cases of flu and colds. Try cooking, meditating, going for a walk, or writing in a gratitude journal.
This is our favorite natural immune system booster. Multiple studies1 have shown that people who exercise regularly have a decreased risk of developing seasonal colds and flu. Muscle contractions increase blood flow. As they do, they raise your body’s temperature — which is thought to mobilize immune cells. For a double boost of immunity protection, exercise outdoors where you can breathe in the fresh air and embrace the beauty of nature.
Toxins, like cigarettes, can affect your immune system, and the chemicals released by cigarette smoke can interfere with the growth and function of immune cells. The CDC also notes2 that smoking can make viral and bacterial infections in the lungs worse. If you already smoke, take measures to quit. If you don’t already smoke, don’t start. In all cases, limit your exposure to smoke and avoid being in areas where others are smoking.
Eat Fruits and Veggies
Eating your fruits and veggies and maintaining a balanced diet will ensure you get adequate vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Make an immune boosting smoothie with fruits like lemons and limes or greens like broccoli and spinach, there are plenty of immune-boosting fruits and vegetables to add to your grocery list. Add some berries to your yogurt, some turmeric and ginger to your tea for their anti-inflammatory properties, or make a big salad to go alongside shellfish or poultry — also known as immune-boosting foods.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands can help slow and stop the spread of diseases. Not only is hand-washing important for our own immunity, but it protects those we come in contact with, too. To properly wash your hands, give them a 20-second scrub with soap and warm water. After you’ve washed, avoid touching the bathroom door or faucet when you’re in public and use a paper towel instead.
Make Chicken Soup
When you’re feeling under the weather, nothing hits the spot like a piping hot bowl of chicken soup. Research has shown it may contain beneficial compounds that alleviate symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. This recipe3 for chicken soup from Time is chock full of goodness, like grated ginger, turmeric, celery, carrots, and onions.
One of the most natural immune system boosters is a funny one — laugh more4. The lymphatic system acts as your body’s cleansing agent. It moves fluid to the heart and is capable of being manually moved through deep belly laughter. The more the system moves, the more lymphatic fluid passes through the lymph nodes, creating lymphocytes, which increases our immunity to disease. It’s a simple notion — laugh more and feel better.
Moderate Alcohol Intake
Studies have shown that high levels of alcohol consumption5 can weaken your body’s ability to fight infection. When you drink too much alcohol, your body is too busy detoxifying your system, which lowers your immune function. If you’re going to drink alcohol, the NIH suggests limiting your intake to one drink per day as a woman and two drinks per day as a man. Remember that the most important drink in the house is water. Keeping your body hydrated6 will help eliminate toxins and illness-causing bacteria. When your body is well-hydrated, the immune system is supported by the lymphatic system, which removes toxins and waste and keeps us healthy.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help boost your immune system naturally. You can find probiotics in yogurt or get them through supplements. Bio-K+® offers two product lines — fresh drinkable probiotics and probiotic capsules, so there are options for everyone.
The drinkable products are suitable for everyone 4 years or older and for everyday use. They are sold as milk, soy, pea and organic brown rice-based products to satisfy all tastes and dietary needs. We also know that everyone’s taste buds are different, so we have a variety of delicious flavors to choose from that include vegan raspberry, vanilla, original, strawberry, vegan blueberry, and vegan mango! The capsules feature delayed-release technology, ensuring that their main bacteria survive the passage through to the intestinal tract, which is the main site of action. The vast variety of probiotics on the market also makes it normal to wonder exactly how many supplements you should, or exactly what kind you should take because it varies by the person.
If you’re a garlic lover, you’re in luck, as garlic is one of the easiest natural ways to boost your immune system. The compounds in garlic help the immune system fight germs. Keep some cloves on hand to toss into your favorite dinner dishes or do what the bravest garlic purists do — smash up a clove and eat it raw. Check out this article7 for unique ways to get your garlic fix. From mixing garlic in apple sauce to crushing it up with an avocado, it offers some genius ways to enjoy garlic.
Spend Time In The Sunshine
Many of us know that sunshine helps our bodies make vitamin D, an important component of our happiness and a healthy life. But at Georgetown University Medical Center, researchers also found8 that sunlight energized T cells and played a role in human immunity. The sunlight was found to activate key immune cells by increasing their movement, which means, if you can, get out there and soak it in (in healthy doses, of course).
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight9 also helps immune system strength. Essentially, the cells in your immune system need to work together in harmony and balance to do their job and protect the body from germs and viruses. Excess body fat, particularly in the abdominal region, can throw off the balance and create immune cells that harm our bodies rather than protect them. These “pro-inflammatory” immune cells create inflammation in our bodies, which is linked to diseases and health issues. Implement simple actions, like portion control, and make sure to stretch and exercise rather than staying sedentary. Eat your fruits and veggies, and don’t skip breakfast, as this can wreak havoc on your metabolism.
The most obvious way to boost your immunity naturally is to avoid infection10. Infection can be avoided by washing your hands and practicing safe hygiene — but it’s also important to cook meat thoroughly. Cooking meat properly will kill bacteria that lead to food poisoning. For a good guide on meat temperatures, check out Healthline’s guide to safe cooking11. It gives you appropriate temperatures for everything from poultry to pork to kill harmful organisms and decrease the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Have Afternoon Tea
If you want to keep your immune system strong to fight off viruses, indulge in a cup of tea. Tea has a broad range of health benefits12 and is equipped with immune-boosting superpowers. Try black tea, which contains flavonoids to fight inflammation and support healthy immune function. A simple lemon, ginger, honey tea in warm water is also a good immune-strengthener. Try this simple recipe13 from The Spruce Eats, which calls for raw honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
From afternoon tea to a daily dose of sunshine, we hope these 14 ways to boost the immune system leave you feeling happy and healthy. At Bio-K+®, we’re big believers in supporting immune health and are proud to offer products with 50 billion 100% probiotic bacteria per 3.5 fl. Oz bottle. Ward off colds, flu, and viruses by getting enough probiotics in your diet and implementing other immune-boosting actions into your daily life — like naps and long walks through the neighborhood.
From the Bio-K+® team, have a good day ahead and stay healthy out there. If you have any questions about our probiotics or natural ways to boost immune system health, reach out to us today.
- 1"Supporting Your Immune System Is Simple." Outside Online, Outside Magazine, 27 Mar. 2020, www.outsideonline.com/2410833/immune-system-support-coronavirus.
- 2"How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally: Everyday Health." EverydayHealth.com, www.everydayhealth.com/columns/white-seeber-grogan-the-remedy-chicks/ten-simple-natural-ways-to-boost-immune-system/.
- 3"Chicken Soup That's Good for Your Immune System." Time, Time, 1 Feb. 2018, time.com/5128891/weekend-recipe-immune-boosting-chicken-soup/.
- 4"Why Laughter Is Good For The Immune System, Inner Cellular Pharmacy." Laughter Online University, 1 Oct. 2018, www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/laughter-immune-system/.
- 5"How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally: Everyday Health." EverydayHealth.com, www.everydayhealth.com/columns/white-seeber-grogan-the-remedy-chicks/ten-simple-natural-ways-to-boost-immune-system/.
- 6"Hydration: The Immune System Booster." Sword Performance, www.drinksword.com/blogs/news/hydration-the-immune-system-booster/.
- 7"How To Use Raw Garlic For Immunity, According To Our Readers." The Chalkboard, 20 Sept. 2019, www.thechalkboardmag.com/how-to-use-raw-garlic-for-immunity.
- 8"Sunlight Offers Surprise Benefit - It Energizes Infection Fighting T Cells." Georgetown University Medical Center, 13 Mar. 2019, https://gumc.georgetown.edu/news-release/sunlight-offers-surprise-benefit-it-energizes-infection-fighting-t-cells/.
- 9"Losing Weight Helps Immune System." LiveScience, Purch, 22 Apr. 2010, www.livescience.com/9877-losing-weight-helps-immune-system.html.
- 10"How to Boost Your Immune System." Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.
- 11"Meat Temperature: A Guide To Safe Cooking." Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/meat-temperature.
- 12"The Hidden Health Benefits Of Tea." Penn Medicine, 9 Dec. 2019, https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/december/health-benefits-of-tea.
- 13“Honey Lemon Ginger Tea” The Spruce Eats, 21 March. 2020, https://www.thespruceeats.com/honey-lemon-ginger-tea-2216237.