Boosting Your Immune System to Fight the Common Cold
By: Samantha McCarthy MS, RD/LDN
Two weeks ago I talked about two common cold supplements: zinc and Vitamin C. Based on the evidence, we came to the conclusion that neither vitamin has a significant effect on occurrence, duration, or severity of the common cold. Well, how is it that some people seem to never get a cold and others are sick all winter long? It comes down to the health of your immune system. The immune system is a remarkable system. Although we don’t notice it, it works 24/7 to fight off disease-causing microorganisms. And it does an incredible job at it. But, certain people may have weakened immune systems based on the lifestyles they live. Incorporate the following tips into your lifestyle, and you will boost your immune system making you less likely to end up with a cold.
Skip the cigarettes - smoking can weaken your immune system making your more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables - fruits and vegetables are loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of these can boost your immune system and help fight off those colds.
Exercise regularly - exercise contributes to better health and a person who is in better health, has a stronger immune system than someone riddled with health issues. Exercise also promotes circulation. Blood circulation means the immune system can reach all areas of your body delivering nutrients and fighting off bad microorganisms.
Maintain a Healthy Weight - like exercise, maintaining a healthy weight means you are in better health. A healthier person has a much stronger immune system.
Drink alcohol only in moderation - alcohol can interfere with the functions of your immune system so excess alcohol can be a problem. Women stick with one drink a day and men two drinks a day to keep your immune system strong.
Sleep 7-8 hours every night - this is an important one. If you are not a good sleeper, you could be compromising your immune system. It’s important to try and get adequate sleep each night. This will help boost your immunity.
Manage your stress levels - research has started to show that chronic stress has a big impact on our immune systems. If you are someone who is always stressed, find ways to cope and lower stress levels such as walking, meditating, taking a yoga class, listening to music, or exercising.
The healthier you are, the healthier your immune system. Practice healthy eating habits and regular exercise to make the most out of your immune system. Be kind to your body. Lack of sleep, high stress, alcohol, and smoking can all damage the body and in return slow your immune system. Stay as healthy as possible and that common cold should stay away!
*Source: Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system