Six Natural Immune Boosters - PIH Health

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Published on February 05, 2021

Six Natural Immune Boosters

Photo of a masked woman in athletic clothing taking a rest on a park bench

Photo of a masked woman in athletic clothing taking a rest on a park benchWith the coronavirus pandemic on everyone's mind, you may be wondering if there are things you can do to avoid getting sick. Although there is nothing that will guarantee you won't catch COVID-19, there are steps you can take to make it less likely you will.

“The most important things you can do are to get vaccinated when it is made available to you, wash or sanitize your hands often, avoid touching your face, wear a face mask in public, and practice safe physical distancing,” says PIH Health Internal Medicine physician, Pinal Doshi MD.

Maintaining a strong immune system can also prevent you from getting sick. “Keeping your immune system strong may not stop you from getting COVID-19 but it may help your body fight off viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing pathogens it encounters,” says Dr. Doshi. “You don't need to take a bunch of supplements to strengthen your immune system. There are simple and natural ways you can do this.”

Here are six ways to boost your immune system naturally:

  1. Reduce Stress – Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can negatively affect your immune system. Find ways to relax, such as meditation, yoga, journaling, and other activities you enjoy.
  2. Eat Healthy – A balanced diet filled with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables supplies you with vitamins and minerals that help to support immune health. Also include whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and foods with healthy fats such as olive oil and salmon.
  3. Exercise – Low to moderate intensity exercise lowers cortisol levels and can boost immune function. Aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day, but don’t go overboard. Too much exercise can weaken your immune system.
  4. Sleep – Your body needs adequate sleep each night to keep your immune system functioning optimally. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Children and teens need more.
  5. Stay Hydrated – Drinking water is the best way to keep your body well hydrated and your immune system going strong. Avoid too much alcohol, caffeine or sugary drinks.
  6. Get Some Sunlight - Vitamin D is also critical for your immune system, and with many of us spending more time indoors, we might not be getting enough of it. Getting some time under the sun can also help improve your sleep, reduce stress, and fight off depression. Of course, a little sunshine can go a long way (and too much is harmful for our skin). If you're wearing sunscreen, you may not produce as much vitamin D. If you're outside for some much-needed vitamin D, don't expose bare skin longer than 5 to 30 minutes. Although there have been correlations between vitamin D deficiencies and both coronavirus infections and more severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, there is also no solid evidence that vitamin D supplementation will lower the risk of becoming infected or developing a serious case of COVID-19. Always talk with your doctor before taking any additional supplements. 

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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