5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Boosting your immune system can help repair your body, reduce swelling, relieve joint pain, and prevent injuries from getting worse. Whether you're dealing with viruses, fungi, bacteria, or other harmful containments, the immune system works hard to guard your body against threats.

Unfortunately, a compromised immune system can't offer the protection you need, which is why you may want to consider boosting your immune system with these helpful methods.

Relieve Stress

Stress causes more damage to the body than you may realize. Stress increases cortisol, which is often referred to as the “stress hormone,” and prolonged exposure to increased cortisol levels suppresses the immune system. Managing stress is critical when you want to improve your health and boost your immunity.

To conquer stress, make sure you're getting enough sleep. You should also practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation. Vent your worries to a trusted friend, avoid caffeine, and participate in regular physical activity. Discover what stress management options work for you, and practice them daily to keep those cortisol levels in check.

Avoid Cigarette Smoke

Whether you're a smoker yourself or you're frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, tobacco smoke raises the risks of pneumonia and bronchitis. Secondhand smoke can even increase the risk of ear infections in children. Rather than compromise your immunity, focus on quitting your smoking habit if you're a smoker. While you can't always do something about secondhand smoke, you can ask friends and family to keep cigarettes out of your home and vehicle. Overall, try to avoid situations where you're exposed to cigarette smoke.

Spend Some Time in the Sun

Sunlight triggers the body's production of vitamin D, which protects the body against certain diseases. Although you should avoid prolonged sun exposure, especially without sunblock, it's important to spend at least 10-15 minutes in the sun every day.

In certain latitudes, however, particularly in the north, sunlight isn't strong enough to trigger adequate vitamin D production. If you live in an area that's notorious for vitamin D deficiency, consider supplementing with 1,000 IU per day.

Eat More Garlic

A variety of foods help improve the body's immune functions, but garlic is a major powerhouse loaded with nutrients. It contains allicin, an antioxidant that helps stop infections and the spread of bacteria. Plus, garlic is beneficial to your digestive health.

The key to enjoying garlic's nutrients is to slice or crush a whole clove and eat it immediately, as allicin is unstable and loses its medicinal properties quickly. If you don't mind eating raw garlic, chop it up and add to your food right at the end for maximum benefits.

Take Herbal Supplements

Certain herbs like Asian ginseng, elderberry, echinacea, licorice root, astragalus, and green barley have been shown to support the immune system when taken regularly. These so-called antiviral herbs prevent viruses from developing and help the body attack harmful pathogens. Antiviral herbs also work as natural flu remedies, so stock up on herbal teas, syrups, supplements, and green barley powder to ward off illness.

You've already taken the first step by researching natural options for boosting your immune system. Stick to these recommendations for the long haul and experience improvement in overall health and wellness.