23 Tips To Boost Your Immune System

Josephine Thompson

Journalist

Winter is fast approaching. Which means you'll have a lot of experiences of going from hot to cold to hot to cold again, as well as many other exciting ways to compromise your immune system and catch cold. You can also catch worse diseases, too. I mean, winter isn't just about fun in the snow (especially now that snow is becoming a premium good). So what can you do to not become devastatingly sick when Christmas is coming? Many things! 23 things, to be precise, as our list would imply. So read on and be amazed by all the ways you can help yourself to be safe.

1

Meditate

A 2012 study by University of Wisconsin found that fifty one people using mindfulness techniques showed 13 fewer illnesses and 51 fewer sick days over a flu season when compared to people in the control group. This can be linked to meditation reducing the physical effects of stress, which weaken the immune system.

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2

Probiotics

Probiotics that include Lactobacillus can reduce risk of respirator and gastrointestinal infections. Take them with food or food supplements! People who are using probiotics are 4% less likely to catch a cold when compared to those taking placebo - that's what 2011 analysis of 10 studies shows.

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3

Eat garlic

It's not only good for Italian cooking or fighting vampires! Allicin, a substance found in crushed garlic, will help fight viruses. A British study which involved volunteers taking a 180 mg daily dose of allicin showed 63% fewer colds over 12 weeks than those that didn't. A clove of garlic only contains 5 to 9 mg of allicin, but even two cloves per day would help. After all, vitamins from food are absorbed a lot better than from pills, and you can find fun ways to add them to food.

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4

Practice qigong

The Chinese exercise which combines controlling breathings and slow movements reduces stress, improve focus – and may also help combat colds. University of Virginia got twenty-seven varsity swimmers to learn qigong. The practitioners got 70% fewer respiratory infections during their seven-week training season than swimmers who didn't do it.

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5

Exercise

Can't escape exercise, but people who exercise five or more days a week get 43% fewer days of upper-respiratory infections, show an Appalachian State University study. Exercise boosts blood flow, which means your immune cells get better reach.

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6

Get vaccinated

Nothing beats vaccination when it comes to protection from flu. And if you're afraid of injections, you can try to get an intradermal shot, which is injected into the skin via much smaller needles.

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7

Wash and dry your hands often

Cleaning your hands removes germs and other nasties that my try to gain access to your body. Drying your hands afterward also helps, because germs can cling to your skin easier when it's wet.

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8

Get enough sleep

Recent news are all abuzz with the importance of sleep. A Carnegie Mellon University study shows that even if you feel good with less than 7 hours of sleep, you are still three times as likely to catch cold as someone who snoozed for 8 or more hours.

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9

Add astragalus

Astragalus (uh-STRAG-uh-lus) root appears to activate T-cells, also called the white blood cells, that fight (actually eat) viruses. It can prevent cold, too. The body doesn't develop a tolerance, so eat it daily. Add it to a soup.

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10

Use herbs and spices

Finally, some good news! The oregano in your spaghetti sauce (and the mustard on your sandwich) may give your immune system a boost while also being tasty.

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More!
11

Fewer sweets

Loma Linda University study showed that consuming six tablespoons of sugar (through orange juice and other stuff, not literally downing six spoons of the stuff) makes white blood cells unable to fight the infections. Sugar depresses your immune system for several hours, so be careful around birthdays.

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12

Lose weight

Surprise, the flu vaccine won't work as well if you're packing on pounds. And you are likely to get sicker if you catch a disease. Antibodies against the flu prematurely decline in obese people, so the vaccine is less effective.

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13

Drink enough water

Stay hydrated even if you're not sick! Your mucous membranes and immune cells in their secretions need water to do their work, which is defending your body against cold viruses.

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14

Mind the toothbrush

Viruses can hop from one toothbrush to other, so make sure your family's brushes stay apart and dry out thoroughly. You don't need to replace your brush if you get sick, since you already have antibodies against the illness.

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15

Get some vitamin C

A gram a day keeps the cold away! Well, at the very least it shows an 8% reduction in symptoms. Doesn't seem like much, but it can cut down on the days you spend sick by 1 or 2.

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16

Socialize

Sure, people spend flu and cold. However, having more social relationships – family, friends, churches, family groups, Magic the Gathering parties - provide psychological benefits, reducing stress, which helps the immune system. They might also influence you to maintain good health habits!

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17

No more nail biting

Biting your nails (or rubbing nose or eyes) is just giving viruses a lift to the entry points into the body, where they can easily go on a rampage. Adults touch their face about 15 times a day, so it's quite a challenge to stop doing that.

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18

Eat mushrooms

Medicinal fungi like shiitake, reishi, and maitake supposedly encourage immune cells to multiply, which is, as we covered, a good thing!

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19

Believe in your meds

Actually believing in your meds helps. A study told people that they were taking echinacea to combat cold. Those who believed strongly in its help, had shorter, milder colds - even if the pill was a placebo.

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20

Make your own sanitizing spray

Clean surfaces with a mix 8 ounces of purified water and 30 drops of essential oil (try lavender, rosemary, thyme, tea tree, or sage). Put it in a spray bottle and spray it on doorknobs, phones, or any other place that frequently hosts viruses.

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21

Be cautious around others.

The least interesting Typhoid Marries come from the 8% of people who harbor viruses during the cold season, but don't show the symptoms. Just wash your hands often.

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22

Clean up after your friends

Flu viruses can survive up to eight hours on surfaces. So clean up everything that you received from people in the last 8 hours. You also have suspicious workplace locations like vending machine buttons, break room faucets, microwaves and so on. Use a disinfectant wipe if you need to touch such objects, and wash your hands afterward.

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23

Eat more fruit

People who eat three or more servings of fruit a day showed 25% fewer days of respiratory symptoms during the season than those who ate less fruits. You're getting Vitamin C and virus-fighting polyphenols from fruits, so what is not to like?

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