Seven Ways to Boost Your Immune System
The immune system is the body’s natural protector against infections and diseases trying to make their way into the body. As flu season arrives and our bodies become more susceptible to bacterial infections, it is essential to take extra steps to strengthen the immune system. Here are seven ways to boost your immune system:
- Don’t smoke. Smoking affects nearly all organ systems in the body, and the immune system is no different. As soon as an individual stops smoking, the immune system will begin to repair itself.
- Exercise frequently. Exercising increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream and improves the cardiovascular system, both of which strengthen the immune system.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients that help to boost the immune system.
- Get annual vaccines. Annual vaccines create immunity against viruses trying to enter the body. The vaccine allows the body to recognize a specific virus to fight it more effectively. The human body naturally fights against viruses and bacteria, but when there is a sudden change in weather, vaccines work as an extra defense.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight people tend to be more susceptible to infections and diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to ensure immune cells respond effectively to invaders of all types.
- Wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands helps to prevent germs from spreading person to person. People often touch their nose, mouth and eyes without realizing that germs enter through these areas.
- Get enough sleep. While sleeping, proteins called cytokines are released from the immune system. When an individual deprives themselves of sleep, there may be a decrease in the release of these protein cells which increases the risk of infections.
“The immune system naturally defends against germs and viruses trying to enter the body.” says Andrew Chao DO. “However, taking extra steps to boost the immune system is especially important during the winter when colds and flu viruses surround you. Take extra care of yourself during this time.”
To schedule an appointment with Andrew Chao DO or a PIH Health Family Medicine physician, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor.