Cold and flu season is coming up fast.
You’re probably looking at how to boost immunity just as swiftly!
It’s normal to start stockpiling your favorite supplements, natural remedies, and vitamin C rich foods, especially this time of year. Luckily, there are natural approaches you can take to strengthen your immune system like:
- Eating well
- Focusing on gut health
That’s just for starters.
Want to know which supplements, habits, and activities you should incorporate more of?
Here’s a look at how to boost immunity naturally to keep colds away this season.
How to Boost Immunity Any Time
You know the basics of keeping your immune system strong — sleep well, eat well, stay hydrated — and those are ongoing lifestyle choices you’ll need to make to stay healthy. What boosts the immune system is staying committed to those regular actions.
When you do make immune-strengthening activities a priority, you’re actively maintaining your body’s natural way to beat illnesses. A strong immune system helps your body fight off toxins, fungi, viruses, and bacteria that might otherwise cause health conditions in your body like a cold or flu.
Below are a few activities and lifestyle changes you can make to naturally strengthen your immune system.
Stress wears the immune system down. When you’re anxious and stressed out, it adds excessive levels of stress hormones to the body, which in turn lowers your body’s ability to fight off infections. Try to avoid chronic, ongoing stress by taking time for yourself when you need it.
Ways to relax and unwind:
- Connecting with loved ones
When you learn to relax, you can better enjoy the present moment and take the edge off. Look into what seems to be the most stressful part of your day or week and then find ways to mitigate those stressors to keep yourself healthy.
Want more ideas on how to relax? Check out our recent post full of activities to celebrate National Relaxation Day (which should really be every day, right?).
Listen to Your Gut
You want to listen to your gut — both intuitively and physically — for signs that your health may be going in the wrong direction. Gut health overall is very much linked to overall wellness. In fact, our gut needs lots of bacteria to fight off infections like the common cold.
Intestinal bacteria help the body:
- Remove toxins
- Obtain nutrients from food
- Fight off harmful viruses and bacteria
Create serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical
Scientists believe about 80% of the body’s immunity lives in the gut, which is why nourishing it with healthy foods and probiotics is vital. The importance of gut health can’t be ignored, so keeping it in balance with the right probiotic foods — like dandelion greens, apple cider vinegar, pickles, etc. — can help keep you well all year long.
Yes, laughter is the best medicine. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your immunity boost!
When you laugh, your body bolsters immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Plus, it reduces stress hormones, which can damage cells and your overall health.
Other positive effects aside from a strong immune system:
- Pain relief
- Mood boost
- Tension soother
- Reduces stress
- Organ stimulation
Laughing is good for the body in more ways than one. Best of all, it’s a great way to de-stress and connect with others while improving your overall health.
Spend Time With Fur Babies
Honestly, is there anything better than snuggling up with a pet? Science shows it’s good not only for your mental health, but it’s also excellent for your physical health. One pathologist found that pet ownership in general usually means “better health and a longer lifespan” in people.
Enjoying time with a pet improves health by:
- Increasing your physical activity
- Decreasing your blood pressure
- Reducing stress hormones
Because pets make it easier to stay active, it helps improve your overall immune system thanks to an increase in physical activity. It also provides a way to socialize with others, an important part of staying healthy, too.
Try Alternative Options
Some easy alternative options are available, too, of course. If you’re into exploring new, natural options, you may consider essential oils, supplements, and unique herbs like echinacea in your quest to boost immunity.
Why you may want to try each:
- Essential oils - These scented liquids are extracted from plants. You may find essential oils helpful for reducing stress, a regular contributor to illness. Scents like lavender sprayed around a room or diffused can evoke feelings of calmness, for example.
- Supplements - Vitamin D in particular is essential to maintain good bone health and to avoid fatigue. If you’re tired and stressed all the time, your immune system weakens. Getting extra vitamin C from a variety of sources like acerola cherry or sea buckthorn berry supplements can also help lessen the severity of colds and improve immunity.
- Echinacea - This herbal dietary supplement is a popular herbal remedy used as an over-the-counter option to battle colds. It’s been shown to be slightly helpful in the prevention of colds, so it’s worth a try for naturally improving your immune system.
Some studies show that a plant-based, low-fat diet may improve your immune system. Just be sure you’re getting plenty of B-12, zinc, and iron in your diet to maintain your immune system and energy.
Foods that boost the immune system include:
- Citrus fruits
- Red bell peppers
- Live and active cultures yogurt
Additionally, eating healthy fats like avocados and almonds are a great way to boost your energy and immunity. Plus, they’re easy to snack on at any time of the day.
Up to 60% of the human adult body is made of water. Every cell and organ needs water to function properly, so it’s a must to stay hydrated daily — but especially during cold and flu season. Drinking enough water ensures your body can naturally fight off bacteria that make you ill, while also eliminating toxins. Plus, if you have a cold, water — warm and cold — helps thin mucus and gets you feeling better, faster.
Like a little flavor? Try these hydration tips:
You can stay hydrated with the foods you eat — think water-filled fruits like melons — in addition to your regular water consumption. For most people, around 20 percent of daily fluid intake is from food and the rest comes from beverages, according to Mayo Clinic. If you’re working out, you’ll want to drink a lot more — 7 to 10 ounces of water for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise, another immunity booster.
The ‘MIX IT WITH’ way: Add your favorite KOR Shots to seltzer, coconut water, plain water, or even in a smoothie for both hydration and nutrients.
No surprise here, right? Exercise is an excellent way to improve the body’s circulation, which in turn flushes out toxins from the lungs and airways to reduce your chance of sickness.
Exercise your way to immunity for:
- Fewer infections - Certain studies indicate that regular, moderate exercise can potentially minimize your yearly cold count! An American Journal of Medicine study tracked women walking 30 minutes daily for a year. These same women had half the colds as those not exercising. Walking increases the body’s white blood cell count, a must for fighting infections.
- Better mental health - Exercise releases “feel-good” hormones which in turn boost moods. When you’re feeling mentally good, you’re more likely to stay active and stick to your healthy routines.
- Reduced inflammation - Consistent inflammation can cause further infections and disease in the body. Regular exercise improves the immune response and also lowers inflammation markers.
Move your body daily. No matter how you do it, find ways to daily incorporate some form of exercise. It’s easier to maintain a good exercise routine if you do something you love. Whether it’s walking your dog or going to an outdoor exercise class, discovering ways that work for your lifestyle will be the ones that are easiest to keep up with.
Last but not least, get some sleep. Getting high-quality sleep is one of the easiest and most natural ways for your body to maintain strong immunity. When you skip out on sleep, you’re missing the opportunity for the body to repair cells. It also lowers your body’s ability to fight off a virus. Sleeping allows your immune system to release cytokine, a type of protein that your body needs plenty of to fight off infections, stress, and inflammation.
Ways to get a good night’s sleep:
- Drink chamomile tea
- Make your room cool and dark
- Eat a light dinner several hours before bed
- Diffuse calming scents like lavender oil
- Stop electronics usage 1-2 hours before bed
Adequate sleep will help you fight off more than colds. In the long run, quality sleep also reduces your risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Boost Immunity Naturally By Taking Care of Yourself
While the above activities aren’t always quick fixes, building these habits into your lifestyle will become second-nature after a while.
Your body will thank you by keeping your immune system strong so you don’t have to miss out on life’s fun adventures.
These daily practices and alternative options are perfect for those who prefer a more natural approach in maintaining vibrant health. When you keep up with normal, healthy habits — like staying hydrated and sleeping enough — it makes it easier to fold in other options into your lifestyle.
What’s your go-to when it comes to boosting your immune system? Let us know in the comments below!