Tips for Boosting the Immune System
1. Eat a healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals that our body uses to strengthen its cells and immune fighting agents. Here are a few foods to try:
Citrus fruits: We all know that citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C which can boost the immune system. “Today we know that the Washington navel [also known as the navel orange] is not only large, sweet, and seedless, it has more phytonutrients per serving than many other nutritious fruits and vegetables, such as red grapes, asparagus, yellow onions, and broccoli raab. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of fiber (more than three grams per orange), and it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar."1
Aliiums: The allium family includes onions, shallots, and garlic, and has long been used for its medicinal properties. From treating war wounds to fighting illnesses, alliums have been used throughout history. “In a test-tube study measuring the anticancer properties of a number of vegetables, including brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and cabbage, garlic was the most effective. According to the Canadian investigators who conducted the study, “Garlic was by far the strongest inhibitor of tumor cell growth. They reported that it blocked 100 percent of the growth of human cancers of the stomach, pancreas, breast, prostate, lungs, kidneys, and brain.”2
2. Drink plenty of water
Water may not be your favorite drink of choice, but for immune-boosting purposes, it is the best. Drinking enough water helps to flush out your system, freeing it of toxins. If you struggle with meeting the goal of eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, try drinking it in different ways to increase its palpability. Try hot tea or hot water with lemon. If cold is what you prefer, try freezing cucumbers or blackberries in ice cubes and add a few to your glass. Make a goal of drinking a glass of water with each meal and before bed. You will be surprised how quickly you meet that 64 ounces/day goal!
3. Try to get some exercise
Not shockingly, we are still being strongly encouraged to get outside and get some exercise every day. That is because experts know how much we benefit from getting the heart pumping and the blood circulating. If you feel you are much too out of shape to do this, start small. Maybe you just go to the end of your street, or around the block. You can slowly increase your distance as you feel your body strengthening. Also, try to be mindful of the way you feel after you get some exercise. Do you sleep better? Is your appetite changed at all? And how is your mood? Physical activity has all kinds of benefits beyond keeping you in better shape.
Did you know that diabetes is a risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease?