It’s that time of year again. Flu season. Every news story highlighting the horrors of this year’s particular strain of flu, and mothers everywhere coating their children in a thick layer of hand sanitizer before they get on the bus.
Every year I do everything I can boost my immune system, and research exactly how many packs of Emergen-C it would take to make me immortal. Surprisingly, every year I still end up in the doctors office trying to convince the nurse that I’m absolutely going to die. So how does one properly boost their immune system, if that’s even possible?
What makes up your immune system?
Your immune system may be referred to as singular, but it is actually much more than that. It is actually everything from organs to individual cells, teaming up to protect your body from hazardous foreign invaders. Essentially your body can recognize which cells are bodily cells and tries to destroy anything that it does not recognize.
This is why when it comes to boosting it, there is not just one specific vitamin you can take that target the immune system specifically. Certain nutrients like Vitamin C and Zinc can help your immune response, but it is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid things like:
- Drinking excessively
- Being overweight
- Neglecting sleep
These things can all lead to a weakened immune response, due to the stress that they put on the body. So, if you are already living a healthy lifestyle, are there ways to increasingly boost your immunity and reduce your risk of getting the flu?
How to boost your immune system
Again, the science of a quick and easy immune system boost doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The best thing you can do to protect your immune system is avoid deficiencies in nutrients. Vitamin C, Zinc, Selenium, all of these are essential to your immune system functioning properly. So if you fear that your diet may not be giving you what you need, consider using a supplement to help you get the amount you need. Overusing these supplements, or taking twice the recommended dose will not increasingly boost your system though. You will essentially be left with very expensive pee, as the excess nutrients will likely be flushed out.
Now, for many typical Americans, our diet does leave us deficient in certain nutrients such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin A
So, assess your diet, and if you don’t believe you’re getting enough of one of these key nutrients, it’s probably a good idea to find supplements that can help you increase your daily intake and keep you in good health.
Tips that will actually help
Just because drinking 5 packs of emergen-c per day won’t create an impervious immunity, doesn’t mean that there aren’t a great many tips and tricks you can use to avoid getting sick this year. Here are a few of our favorites
Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep. Rather than staying up for just one more episode of Netflix get a good night’s rest instead. The effects sleep can have on your health are incredible and staying well-rested throughout flu season gives your body a better chance of avoiding getting run down.
Try Essential Oils
The science of essential oils for fighting off the flu is not foolproof. These oils do have many antibacterial properties and even some antiviral properties that can keep you healthy all winter long. Oils like Eucalyptus, lemon, and lavender, can be very beneficial. These are often diffused in the air or rubbed on the bottoms of your feet.
Check your Diet
As stated previously, your diet is one of the most important things for maintaining a healthy immune system. Make sure you are receiving all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs and if not, find the supplements for what you aren’t getting.
Whatever form this takes for you, make sure you are taking steps to relieve stress and practice some self-love. Whether it’s a hot bath, a cup of tea and your favorite Netflix show, or a even a trip away from home, do whatever you need to keep yourself from feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This can be extremely hard on the body and on your immune system as well.