How to Boost Your Immune System for the Winter

6 - immuneMost of us are endowed with impressive immune systems that work to keep us healthy. With that being said, we can enhance our ability to ward off illness by employing some performance boosting strategies. If you’re hoping to sail through the winter without falling ill, incorporate the following immune system boosters into your daily routine.
Exercise more. Research shows that exercise is good for immune function; however, you don’t have to be a fitness nut to reap the benefits. By getting your heart rate up for only twenty minutes a day, three times a week, you can improve your body’s ability to fight off infections.
Sleep well. Studies show inadequate sleep leaves us vulnerable to infections. Give your immune system a boost by prioritizing sleep. If you have problems with insomnia, try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day, even on weekends. You can also promote better sleep by getting more exercise.
Relax. Chronic stress has been linked to hypertension and heart disease. At the same time, it can also weaken our immune systems and leave us more susceptible to illnesses. Try to manage your stress using better planning, exercise, meditation, music or counseling. Give yourself time to detach from work responsibilities and spend some time every day doing things that make you happy.
Strengthen relationships. Research has shown that people who enjoy close nurturing relationships have higher levels of an immune system protein called immunoglobulin A (IgA).
Eat healthy. Proper nutrition is the foundation for an effective immune system. Boost your body’s natural germ-fighting abilities by eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Focus on nutritional powerhouses, such as berries, kiwi, citrus fruits, kale, red grapes, spinach, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes. Fresh garlic has also been shown to offer antibiotic and antiviral properties, while mushrooms enhance the production of chemicals that help our bodies respond to infections.

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