Today it seems the cold and flu season lasts the year round. The recent outbreak of the Swine Flu has increased our awareness of the need for our immune systems to be in top shape. Since we cannot live in a bubble to prevent contact with the germs that attack us, we have to rely on our body's immune system to protect us. Below are ways to help you improve your immune system as well as other suggestions to help you and your family to prevent getting the flu or other illnesses.
Things You Will Need
Fresh fruits & vegetables, Vitamins, Disinfectant spray, Disinfectant hand soap, Disinfectant wipes, Gel sanitizers
Improving your immune system like so many other health related matters begins with a good diet. Good eating habits, such as getting plenty of vegetables and fresh ripe fruit, will provide your immune system with both vitamins and antioxidants. Whole grains, beans, fish, poultry and low fat red meat (consumed in moderation) when eaten with vegetables and fruit will provide a varied but well balanced diet. Stay away from foods high in fat because they can actually suppress the immune system. That doesn't mean that you can never have that rich dessert that you crave, just do it in moderation. Yellow spices are believed to be anti-inflammatory and onion and garlic are said to be naturally anti-viral.
The next thing is to make sure that you get enough sleep. The average adult needs 7-8 hours per day while teenagers need 8-9 hours. The younger the individual the more sleep required. The lack of sleep has been associated with a reduced immune system. The body needs time to recover from the days activities. To go hand and hand with enough sleep, individuals should take steps to reduce stress. Everyday life can be hectic and stressful. Take time for yourself. Shut out the rest of the world and relax. Utilize breathing techniques, meditation or some other form of relaxation such as a long warm bath. Do whatever works for you to relax.
We have all heard many, many times about how important it is to drink plenty of fluids. It is still recommended that you consume a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day. This assumes that if you are active or are in an environment that dehydrates your body that you will increase this amount appropriately. Water is also one of the best know anti inflammatory solutions available which also benefits your immune system. Stay away from sweet drinks and caffeine as these actually act to dehydrate you. Green and black teas are recommended because they contain antioxidants, but drink them in addition to and not in the place of water.
Exercise is the next important step to improving your immune system. Studies have shown that regular exercise, even as little as walking 4 or 5 times a week will increase your immune systems ability to ward off illness. Cardio as well as weight training are recommended for a well rounded exercise program. However, any exercise is better than being sedentary. You can start off with small steps such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further out in the lot or just walk around the block. Remember to always check with your healthcare provider prior to starting any exercise program.
Follow good health habits such as covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and staying away from work, school, and other public places to avoid close contact with other individuals may prevent those around you from getting sick. Stay away from close contact with others when they are sick. Clean your hands often by washing them with a disinfecting soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds or use gel sanitizers or alcohol based hand wipes if soap and water is not available. Germs are often spread when you touch something that has been contaminated with germs and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
The recent outbreak of the Swine Flu has increased our awareness of the need for our immune systems to be in top shape. Use the tips above to help you improve your immune system as well as the other suggestions to help you and your family prevent getting the flu or other illnesses.
Tips & Warnings
See your healthcare provider at least once a year.