Your need to boost your immune system so that it can defends you from disease-causing microbes. Some of the common viruses that your immune system protects you from include coronaviruses (we’re hearing plenty about that one), parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, and rhinoviruses. Your immune system also protects you from common bacteria like Streptococcus.
Here’s what you can do to give your immune system an extra boost.
- Add vitamin C to your diet. While vitamin C can’t prevent a cold, it just might make it go away faster. Taking vitamin C supplements just before cold symptoms start. (Like when you get that sandpapery feeling in the back of your throat) can help get rid of a cold faster, but if your cold is in full-swing, vitamin C won’t help you.
- Take Zinc. Taking zinc lozenges, tablets or syrup can also shorten a cold.
- Add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria. Taking probiotics means adding good bacteria to the healthy microbes in your gut. Probably the most common probiotic food is yogurt. You can also try sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi.
- Go for the garlic. Your grandmother was right: Adding fresh garlic to your diet will give your immune system a good boost. Note that heat deactivates a key active ingredient, so to get the best benefits, add garlic to food just before serving.
- Pile on the fruit and vegetables. Aim to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables so that your immune system has the pool of nutrients it needs.
- Juice your way to health. Juicing is a terrific way to get all of your nutritional needs from your diet if you’re reluctant to eat fruit and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices give you a concentrated super-boost of antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients. These benefit your immune systems, aid digestion and help remove toxins from your body.
- See the sun. If your vitamin D levels are low, you may run an increased risk of respiratory infection. The best way to increase your vitamin D levels is to go out into the sun. Avoid the hottest part of the day as this can cause sun damage to your skin. Remember that as you age, your body is less able to convert the sun’s rays to vitamin D. It’s not easy to get this vitamin from foods, but fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are a good source.
- Get enough sleep. Make sure that you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase the hormone cortisol. If your cortisol levels are high for a long time, your immune function will be weakened.