How many people have you heard coughing and sneezing around you lately? Cold and flu season is already upon us! I am a fan of frequent hand washing as a means of prevention and always keep some sanitizer nearby, but you can do more. You can also prime your immune system to be a fighting machine. Start by eating a well-balanced diet, full of fruits and veggies, to nourish your immune system and try these other techniques to fight the good fight against the germs of the season.
- Tea Time: Don't wait until you're sick to start sipping tea. Green tea has been shown to stop viruses in their tracks . . . in petri dishes. But researchers believe that the drink, high in the antioxidant catechins, improves the immune system's ability to fight infection. If you're living caffeine free, pour yourself a cup of chamomile. The herbal brew has been found to increase the bacterial-fighting, plant-based compound polyphenols found in the bloodstream. Chamomile also acts as a mild sedative, which can help keep immune-depleting stress at bay.Skip the soda and have some tea!
- Bring On the Good Bugs: Not all bacteria is your enemy; probiotics can help keep you healthy. By adding good bacteria to your intestines, probiotics help maintain the balance between the helpful micro-organisms and infectious ones, and keeping your intestinal flora balanced is good for the overall health of your immune system. The tiny, yet powerful microbes bolster the immune system helping stimulate the production of more killer cells that attack viral infected cells. You can take boost the healthful bacteria with probiotic supplements or eat yogurt containing live and active cultures.
- Go Swedish or Shiatsu: Treat your immune system and your tight back to a massage. Recent studies have shown that massage increases white blood cell counts, and those cells play a key role in your immune system. Massages are great for many other reasons too, but they are not kind to the wallet. A more cost friendly option it a dose of good ol' fashioned optimism - thinking that you're not going to get sick might just boost your immune system.
- The Sweat Factor: Getting pumped up strengthens more than your muscles. Consistent moderate exercise bolsters your immune system, or more specifically your macrophages - your body's frontline in the defense against infection. Exercise increases the production of these warrior cells. But beware: intense training, like for a marathon, can actually weaken your immune system in the long run. Try some of our circuit workouts or cardio plans to get your sweat on!
- Daily Dose of Z: Don't underestimate the power of sleep to help keep your health up. Not getting enough shut-eye decreases your T-cell count, suppressing your immune system. If you do happen to catch a bug, being chronically under slept can increase your recovery time. Set a regular bed time and tuck yourself in a little early if you're feeling deleted.
Health Tip: Toss Your Brush and Cold Away
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