How to boost your immune system with 20 natural remedies
Your immune system provides stamina to fight against various diseases and allergies. But sometimes it fails to protect you against viruses and bacteria because germs invade successfully and make you sick. With the current spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) over the globe, it can be very essential to look after our immune system more than ever. Now, you might be thinking ”how can I strengthen my immune system naturally”? You can improve your stamina against germs and diseases by improving your diet, taking certain vitamins or herbal preparations, and making better lifestyle changes.
Our human body is a complex, intelligent masterpiece and should not be underestimated. All our body systems are interconnected with each other and communicate to actively fight infections. Here are the key parts of the immune system: white blood cells, antibodies, the spleen, the thymus, the lymphatic system the bone marrow and the complement system.
Does age affect the immune system?
As we grow old, our immune response capability reduces, and we become more prone to illness and infections. Compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to come in contact with infectious diseases and, more likely to die from them. Respiratory infections and influenza are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide. That’s why older people are advised to take extra care about their diet and immune system.
How to boost your immune system?
A better immune system requires balance and harmony. You can boost your immune system by choosing a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy food. Here are some natural ways which can help you boost your immune system:
Get enough sleep
7 – 9 hours of sleep improves the function of white blood cells, so you’re less likely to become ill. White blood cells boost our immune system and fight from respiratory infections, colds, and the flu. Practice good sleep routine to optimize sleep. This includes waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends. Avoid substances like caffeine or alcohol several hours before bedtime because they can interfere with your sleep cycle. Set your room temperature a little lower than outside. Prefer a warm bath, relaxing music, or a cup of tea before bedtime for a sound sleep.
Stay away from stress
Chronic stress from constant fear activates the fight or flight response which affects your immune system and increases the risk of several types of illnesses. It raises the level of catecholamine hormone and leads to increased levels of suppressor T cells, which overpower the immune system. This makes you vulnerable to viral illnesses, including respiratory conditions like colds, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms. Overcome anxiety, fear and stress with regular practices of meditation, deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and relaxation.
Laugh a lot
Some of the studies suggest that fun and laughter can boost the immune system. In a study conducted by psychologists and doctors, a funny movie boosted natural killer cell activity in healthy males, while watching an emotionally neutral movie did not boost their immune system function. Belly laughs feel great because they can’t hurt, and they might help boost your immune system. The brain releases beta-endorphins, which leads to the release of nitric oxide, for increased blood flow. Belly Laughter also decreases stress hormones, increases antibodies and releases endorphins which leads to a good mood.
Alcohol and nicotine consumption
Alcohol and cigarettes can harm and slow down your immune system, so it’s best to drink/smoke moderately or not at all. Men are advised to consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, whereas women should have no more than one. Alcohol has some health benefits if safely consumed, but there are a few factors like overall health status, risk factors for disease, and medications for safe consumption. Consult your doctor before you indulge in occasional alcoholic drinking. Regular smoking can have negative impacts on the immune system and can cause greater susceptibility to infections such as severe chronic illness, cancer, pneumonia and influenza.
Exercise and physical activities
Regular exercise can help to cleanse bacteria out of the lungs and airways and enhance the grow of white blood cells to fight disease, which may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu or other illness. Physical activity improves your immune system and can protect you against cardiovascular health, high blood pressure, obesity and bacteria and viruses. Just like a healthy diet which includes fresh vegetables and fruits, exercise and physical outdoor activities can contribute to better mental health, general good physical health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
Some Scientific studies have shown that taking cold showers regularly enhances the volume of white blood cells in your body. White blood cells protect your body against diseases. Scientists think that this process is related to an expanded metabolic rate, which accelerates the immune response. Cold showers do not just boost the immune system but is also a great happy mood booster due to increased neurotransmitters release such as norepinephrine and endorphins.
To strengthen the immune system, practicing adequate hygiene like washing hands and selfcare is essential. When we start to notice any flu like symptoms like feeling exhausted, tired and body pain, it is time to take care of ourselves by getting a hot cup of herbal tea, relaxing and sleeping in a quiet and peaceful place. By listening to the body, we can understand when to get a break and recharge our batteries to prevent sickness.
The immune system can fight colds and flus more quickly by doing energy balancing work, because the system is so susceptible to thoughts, emotions, fear and energies. Energy healing like Reiki can be done hands on in person or through distance healing. Energy healing and balancing can be very valuable in supporting wellness, deep relaxation, fighting illnesses and accelerating recovery. Some methods are Yoga, Reiki, Qi Gong, Acupuncture, Thai Chi, EFT and Chakra cleansing.
Absorb Vitamin D through the Sun
You may not like to get outside when it’s cold but occasionally daring to get fresh air when the sun is shining is a wonderful immune boost and it could even improve mental health.
Vitamin D is an immune system supercharger and absorbing some sunshine is the most natural and effective way. However, overdoing sunbathing can result in sunburns or skin cancer. Only between 20 to 25 minutes are required to get the desirable vitamin D dosage.
Foods that boost your immune system
Nature offers us rich varieties of tasty foods which not only balance our diet but can also improve our immune system. Here’s a list of food and vitamins that are good for our immune system:
Elderberry is a shrub that has been used to make syrup and lozenges. Elderberry extracts have antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. You can take elderberry syrup to cure colds, flu, and bacterial sinus infections. The medicine works by reducing swelling in mucus membranes. Some studies suggest elderberry extract reduces the harmful effects of severe flu and other infections.
Echinacea is a herb that is used to make medicines from its leaves, flower, and root. Echinacea is most commonly used to cure the common cold and other infections. Commercially available Echinacea products come in many forms like tablets, juice, and tea. Echinacea tea has several benefits including better immunity to fight flu, controlled blood sugar level, lesser anxiety, and protection against breast cancer.
Acai berry is a black-purple fruit that is extracted from the acai palm tree in Brazil. The fruit is high in antioxidants and helps in combatting stress in the body by mopping up free radicals. Antioxidants boost immunity and lower inflammation in the body. Acai also helps in getting rid of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, lower rectum cancer, constipation, and infections like Flu.
Turmeric is a spice that gives curry its rich yellow colour and phenomenal taste. It contains bioactive compounds which have powerful medicinal properties. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound which helps us fight against virus and flu. Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body and boosts brain-derived neurotropic factor, which improves the immune system and brain functioning. Consuming a controlled amount of turmeric on a daily basis reduces the risk of brain and heart disease.
Ginger has antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation and boosts the immune system. You can consume it by steeping grated ginger in hot water to make tea. Freshly grated ginger also makes a great addition to stir-fried and veggies and curries. Ginger has medically proven antibacterial and antiviral properties which maximize your immune system.
Garlic has been used for ages to enhance the flavour of delicious food and strengthen immune systems. Garlic has proven antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. It also helps in fighting Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancers, and other conditions.
Green tea contains flavonoids and is rich of precious antioxidants, which can both reduce the risk of a flu, and may also strengthen the immune system.
Green tea includes only a small amount of caffeine, so you can enjoy it as an alternative to black tea or coffee.
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of immune boosting vitamin C during the winter season. Citrus fruits also have vast amounts of other vitamins and minerals that your body requires to function healthy. Such as B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper.
Here are some healthy and tasty variations of citrus fruits:
- Sweet oranges: Valencia, navel, blood orange, cara cara
- Mandarins: Satsuma, clementine, tangerine, tangelo
- Limes: Persian, key lime, kaffir, yuzu
- Grapefruit: White, pink, oroblanco
- Lemons: Eureka, Meyer
- Other kinds: Citron, sudachi, yuzu, pomelos, ugly fruit, kumquat
Sunflower seeds can bring a delicious addition to salads or mueslis. They are a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant. Similar like other antioxidants, vitamin E improves immune function, by fighting off free radicals, which can harm cells. Sunflower seeds also contain selenium which can support your body fight against certain diseases, while also helping your immune system to control cell damage
Olive leaf extract
Olive leaf extract naturally enhances your immune system by helping your body effortlessly fight off viruses and pathogens that can cause a common cold, flu, influenza, chronic fatigue syndrome. Olive leaf extract has been used for centuries for the prevention of inflammation and infections because of its broadly anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial nature. It is also helps the body to recover quickly.
Probiotics & Kefir
Probiotics can help give your immune system a boost and decrease the growth of harmful gut bacteria. In some studies, probiotics have been demonstrated to enhance the production of natural antibodies in the body. They could certainly also boost immune cells like T lymphocytes and killer cells. Probiotics seem to benefit young children to prevent from immune-mediated diseases such as eczema, colds, asthma and type 1 diabetes. Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health. Various studies have revealed that regular consumption of kefir can help with: fighting bacteria, reducing inflammation and increasing antioxidant activity.
Don’t forget to soak in daily sunlight and breathe in fresh air in nature instead of smoking for your wellbeing. With these little efforts and additions in your daily holistic routine, you can ensure a healthy immune system. Typical signs of a good immune system are when you feel physically and mentally active without any pain and get sick very rarely, even in winter. A boosted immune system helps you fight against various health problems and promotes better holistic wellbeing.
Always consult with your doctor before adding any new remedy to your routine. This article is for information purpose only. By providing the information herein we are not diagnosing, treating or curing any type of disease or medical condition. You are responsible for your own health and should always consult with your doctor or health practitioner.