Do you feel like you’re always coming down with something? Do you have to keep cold medicine with you at all times?
If your immune system isn’t as responsive as you’d like it to be, you’re in luck. There are lots of simple things you can do to strengthen your body’s ability to fight off invaders and keep you feeling healthy and strong. Get started today with these five simple strategies.
1. Eat More Garlic
It’s not great for freshening up your breath, but garlic is very good for people who want to give their immune system a boost.
Garlic is also filled with minerals like potassium and calcium, which are great for bolstering the immune system. And, garlic contains sulfuric compounds like allicin, which have the ability to destroy infections and bacteria. Sulfuric compounds boost the response of white blood cells (disease-fighting cells) so that they’re better able to fight off invaders and keep you healthy.
Cooking garlic kills off some of garlic’s beneficial enzymes, so it’s best to consume garlic raw in order to reap the greatest number of benefits from it.
The easiest way to experience the immune boosting benefits of raw garlic is to simply chew a clove of it. If this doesn’t appeal to you (and who would blame you), you can also add minced raw garlic to your favorite foods to make it more palatable and give your meals some added flavor.
Meditation is a great stress reliever, as it helps you calm your mind and stay focused on the present. By lowering your stress levels, not only will you feel more relaxed, but your immune system will actually function better, too.
One study even found that, among patients with HIV, those who meditated regularly had a dramatic decrease in the immune cells associated with the disease. Those who meditated regularly also had fewer markers of inflammation throughout the body — inflammation is an immune response and, when people are chronically inflamed, they’re more susceptible to illnesses.
Meditation seems intimidating to a lot of people, but it’s actually quite simple. There are lots of apps and online videos you can use to learn the basics and get some guidance. You can also look for local meditation groups to join.
3. Use Hot and Cold Water in the Shower
As you probably know, hot and cold therapy is highly effective at reducing swelling and inflammation after you’ve sprained your ankle. On a larger scale, it can also reduce inflammation throughout the body, which strengthens the immune system and makes you less susceptible to disease.
One of the best ways to boost your immune system at home is to simply alternate between hot and cold water while you shower.
When you stand under hot water, your blood vessels open up. This improves blood flow. When you switch to cold water, your blood vessels constrict and blood flow is reduced.
Alternating between hot and cold water for about twenty minutes initiates a pumping mechanism and allows more oxygen to flow into the muscles and tissues and deoxygenated blood to flow out so that it can collect more oxygen.
This process helps reduce inflammation (which is why so many athletes alternate between hot and cold baths after a tough practice), but it also helps boost white blood cells in the body to prevent sickness.
One study even found that people who took a hot-to-cold shower each day saw a nearly 30 percent decrease is sickness-related workplace absences.
4. Consume Probiotics
Did you know that between 70 and 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract? Because of this, it’s essential to prioritize your gut health if you want to feel healthy.
One of the best ways to do this is to make sure you’re consuming lots of probiotics (good bacteria that support digestion, help fight inflammation, and keep your gut healthy and balanced).
If you’re not eating a healthy diet, or if you live a stressful life, the lining of your gut can become inflamed and make you more susceptible to illnesses like the flu and chronic infections.
There are some high-quality probiotic supplements out there that you can use to help boost the health of your gut. But, you can also reap the same benefits from eating probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.
It’s also important to consume lots of prebiotics — found in leafy greens and other fiber-rich foods — to properly feed the probiotics in your gut.
5. Visit the Chiropractor
Finally, another surprising way you can boost your immune system is to make sure you’re visiting the chiropractor regularly.
Research has shown that chiropractic adjustments can raise white blood cell count. As a result, chiropractic patients get sick less often than those who do not receive regular chiropractic care.
It’s not clear exactly why this is the case, but it may have to do with the fact that chiropractic adjustments can reduce inflammation and improve healthy blood flow to ensure all the organs and tissues of the body are functioning properly.
You may feel like you have a weak immune system and maybe, at the moment, you do. But, you definitely don’t have to accept that as truth for the rest of your life. Implementing these immune boosting tips into your life will help you feel stronger and healthier than ever before.