9 Very Important Ways to Bolster Your Immune System as the Pandemic Persists
While it was always lousy to get sick, the continuing threat of COVID-19 makes scratchy throats doubly stress-provoking. More people are getting vaccinated, but the pandemic is still a problem. You need to know how to keep your immune system strong while waiting for herd immunity to be reached.
Here are nine ways you can boost the immune system of your loved ones this year.
1. Squeeze That Juice
Unless you or someone in your family is training for a marathon, upping your orange juice consumption won’t lessen your chances of becoming sick. A review of 29 randomized trials shows that while supplementing benefits endurance athletes, it doesn’t prevent the common cold in ordinary citizens.
However, you should still get out the juicer and up your family’s consumption of orange juice. Getting at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C daily reduces a cold’s duration by 8% in adults. Among children, it shortens suffering by 14%.
2. Do Fish Friday
Did you know that the healthiest populations on earth also eat a ton of seafood? It turns out that the fruits of the sea don’t only benefit your mood — they can boost immunity as well.
According to research from the Harvard School of Public Health, eating two or more servings of fish weekly strengthens your immune response. Additionally, regular consumption reduces your heart disease risk. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of both men and women — why not fight it deliciously?
3. Snack Like a Squirrel
Another nutrient that can help improve immune function is zinc. Like vitamin C, supplementing won’t necessarily decrease your chances of getting sick, but it can lessen a cold’s duration by as much as a full day. Every minute matters when you feel miserable.
Nuts and seeds contain high levels of this nutrient, so when you reach for a snack, pretend you’re a squirrel. They provide the ideal way to get your zinc if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
4. Grow a Herb Garden
Did you get into the gardening craze during the spring and summer shutdowns? If you didn’t, you can still get in on the fun and improve your family’s immune function.
Echinacea has a longstanding reputation for improving immune function and studies show it increases white blood cell count — crucial cells for fighting pathogens. Plus, the purple blooms add a splash of color to your kitchen. Houseplants also help clean your indoor air, which can reduce your disease risk.
5. Change Your Air Filter
When the weather gets colder, you spend more time inside. If you have poor indoor air quality, you can breathe in germs over and over until, bam — you get sick.
Please take the time to check and clean the air filter in your air purifier. If you use inexpensive fiberglass models, you should do so monthly. Higher quality, more tightly woven filters last longer, but plan on more frequent changes if you have pets or smokers in the home.
Don’t feel shy about bringing your outdoor plants in for the winter. A long time ago, NASA did a study that showed greenery removes toxins like formaldehyde from the air.
6. Bundle Up
You heard the advice a million times growing up — bundle up or risk catching a cold. Maybe you even countered the idea, saying that the cold can’t make you sick, only germs can.
Fortunately, science now supports your childhood caregiver’s admonitions to bundle up. Drops in temperature and humidity increase your chances of getting the rhinovirus, and flu viruses also seem to proliferate more as the mercury falls.
7. Soak Up Some Sun
However, the advice to bundle up doesn’t mean spending all winter inside. Getting some fresh air and sunshine can help boost your family’s immunity.
Research shows that as your body’s vitamin D supply decreases, you become more susceptible to infection. This nutrient is a hormone that your body can produce with exposure to the sun. Try to get outside for at least 15 minutes daily.
8. Take a Nap
Your body replenishes your immune system’s supply of cytokines primarily during sleep. Getting enough sleep ensures that you get the rest you need to complete this rebuilding process.
You might feel like sleeping more with increased darkness. Don’t always fight the urge — it could represent an evolutionary strategy that helped your ancestors survive the cold season.
9. Listen to Health Experts
When it comes to preventing infectious disease, please listen to leading health experts. Remember, you aren’t only protecting yourself and your family, but strangers who may face increased risks — even if they don’t look sick.
Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when you can’t get to a sink. Wear a mask when you go into an enclosed public space, even if your jurisdiction has no mandate requiring one. Even if you don’t contract COVID, other infections can lower your immune response.
Boost Your Family’s Immune System This Year With These 9 Smart Tips
You’re wise to boost your family’s immune system during these uncertain times. Use the nine tips above to stay healthier this cold and flu season.