(Natural News) Flu season is just around the corner, but it should be nothing to fear if one’s immune health is in tiptop shape. If it isn’t, don’t fret. Numerous studies and past research confirm that it’s possible to boost the immune system for better protection against infection and disease.
In one of her recent online articles, Tieraona Dog, a leading national specialist on herbal medicine and a natural health practitioner, shared that adopting certain habits and getting rid of others can help enhance immune function in the long run, not just during flu season.
Tips for boosting immune health
A person’s gut health influences his immune health, said Dog. In fact, the gut has a crucial role in immune function. Therefore, some of the best approaches to boosting both gut health and immune health are adopting a balanced diet and eating the right foods.
Other good habits to adopt include cutting back on sugar-rich foods and processed foods, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress.
Eat fresh, organic produce
Organic, plant-based foods boast a range of essential macro- and micronutrients that can stimulate immune function and strengthen immune cells. Some ideal immune-boosters include citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger and spinach.
Increase fiber intake
Fiber in plant-based foods feeds the good bacteria in the gut that help maintain optimal immune health. Good sources of fiber include oats, asparagus, artichoke, lentils and black beans.
Include fermented foods in a balanced diet
Besides fiber-rich foods, fermented foods are also ideal for maintaining optimal gut health and supporting immune function, thanks to microorganisms called probiotics. Nutritious fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.
Cut back on sugar consumption
Frequent consumption of sugar-rich foods and drinks, such as candies, pastries and sodas, can be detrimental to one’s gut health. Limit your consumption of these foods or get rid of them altogether for a healthier gut and a stronger immune system.
Limit processed foods
Processed foods like canned soups, cured meat and pre-made sauces can harm the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. This can result in an unbalanced gut that’s susceptible to infection, inflammation and cellular damage.
People susceptible to chronic stress due to strained relationships or pressure at their jobs are also at risk of poor immune health. Scientists find that stress takes a toll on immune function and impairs its normal processes. Chronic stress can also upset the gut and cause a decrease or increase in appetite and other sudden changes.
To keep stress from affecting your immune health, step outdoors and spend some time in Nature. Some people like to practice mindfulness exercises to get a handle on stress. Others also find unplugging their phones or setting them aside to be helpful in reducing stress fast.
Exercising on a regular basis helps stamp out inflammation and keeps immune cells up and running. But take care not to exercise for too long too often as this can increase stress and affect immune health. Just a couple of minutes of exercise in the morning should do.
Get proper sleep
Lack of sleep can make a person susceptible to getting sick more often. For a good night’s sleep, turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed and sleep in a dark room. The blue light from phone screens impairs the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
In some cases, it might also help to consume sleep-promoting foods and drinks before bed, such as herbal teas, nuts and bananas.
Immune health is tied to other aspects of health, such as diet, nutrition and sleep, among others. Get rid of bad habits that affect these and adopt good ones that contribute to optimal health instead. (Related: Top 10 all-time immune system CRUSHERS.)
Read more articles about boosting immune health at ImmuneSystem.news.