A strong immune system can fight off most viruses, but when it’s weakened, viruses can get the upper hand. A healthy diet and lifestyle can strengthen your body’s defenses, adding prevention or assistance if a virus does take hold.
1. Healthy eating:
• Vitamin C is essential to your immune system. You’ll find it in many fruits and vegetables, particularly good picks are citrus fruits, kiwis, bell peppers, and fruit juices.
• Eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant oils, milk products, fish, and lean protein. You’ll be providing your body with a full supply of substances to fortify your defenses: vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and selenium.
• Avoid nicotine and alcohol: both weaken the immune system, and tobacco smoke is a Class A carcinogen.
2. Reducing stress:
Stress, conflict, and worry are poison not only for your mental well-being, but for your body’s defenses. In order to ease the burden on body and soul:
• Build in regular breaks during the day for a little “me time”
• Learn a relaxation technique, such as yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or Qigong.
• Get adequate rest, always going to sleep and rising at the same time every day.
3. Toughening up:
Even a good, old-fashioned barefoot stroll through the grass can perk up your immune system.
• Start every morning with a contrast shower: turn on the warm water, then, after two minutes switch to a cold shower for 15 seconds. Repeat the process three times; make sure to end on cold water.
• Avoid car exhaust, it chokes immunity, and don’t spend too much time in poorly-ventilated indoor places where chemicals are being used or where new materials, such as carpets, have recently been installed.
• Drink at least six 8 oz. glasses of water a day to boost your immune system and lessen feelings of fatigue.
4. Plenty of exercise:
The fastest way to feel energized is to exercise, you’ll feel the effects right away. A simple 10-minute walk will decrease tension, banish fatigue, and boost mental alertness for hours afterward. Make it a daily routine, and pretty soon you’ll be toning muscles, strengthening your heart, and improving the functioning of most organs and bodily systems. Exercise immediately lightens the workload of the immune system, speeding the elimination of germs and other threats by stimulating circulation, making you breathe deeply, accelerating perspiration, and increasing muscle activity.
Natural Remedies for Healthy Living, Reader’s Digest, 2011