Simple immune boosters

We’re smack bang in the middle of flu season, cold season and seemingly every-other-illness-you-can-conceive season, so how do you bolster your immune system and give yourself a fighting chance of staving off sickness?

Luckily, there are some simple steps that are often ignored but that can help to strengthen your immune system.

Relax
The easiest immune-boosting tip is to sit back and relax. Stress plays a major part in weakening your immune system, so avoid it when you can, or make a point of taking some deep breaths and doing things you enjoy.

Get busy
On the other hand, some studies show that being busy (not the stressful kind of busy) is a positive step towards healthy immune system. Also, those make love more often have higher levels of a cold-fighting substance in their bodies.

Snuggle up to your pet (or get one)
Man’s best friend is also a potent enemy of sickness. Not only do pets (dogs, in particular) help you exercise more, pet owners typically have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and better immune responses.

Get out and about
Friends are important in more ways than one. Strong social ties have a big effect on your health and those with healthy relationships are more likely to outlive those who don’t have strong social bonds.

Stay positive
Sure, it’s easy to say, but the benefits of looking on the bright side of life are more than worth the effort it takes to stay positive. When you think good thoughts, your body’s defences work better, says WebMD, so try not to dwell on the bad stuff.

Laugh, a lot
You know what they say about laughter? Well, it’s true, says a study that found those who laugh out loud have stronger immune systems and fewer illnesses.

Eat colourful fruit and veg
Colourful fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants which guard against free radicals and molecules that harm your cells. So make sure you get your fill of oranges, green peppers, broccoli, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, carrots, watermelon, papaya, leafy greens and cantaloupe.

Exercise
Exercise eases stress, strengthens your bones, reduces your risk of heart disease and some cancers, so it goes without saying that it does wonders for your immune system, too. Half an hour a day is all it takes, and any type of movement will do.

Sleep
Seven to nine hours of sleep each night will bolster your immune system. Without sleep, it can’t regenerate. To get better sleep, skip the second cup of coffee, reduce your alcohol intake and steer clear of sugary foods late in the day. Also, keep your bedroom cool and make sure you unwind before lying down: that means, read a book and skip the telly.

Cut back on alcohol
A drink here and there is fine, but too much alcohol can wreck your immune system and cause you to be sicker more often.

Kick the habit
If you’re a smoker, quit. It might be tough, but no tougher than you’re being on your immune system. Ask for advice on how best to tackle this life-changing challenge. You won’t be sorry.

Keep your hands clean
One of the easiest ways to transmit germs is via your hands. So keep them clean. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds at a time. If you don’t have access to soap, use a hand sanitiser. It’s not as effective as hand washing, but it’s better than nothing.

What’s your tip for staving off sickness?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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