Getting through cold and flu season unscathed takes more than diligent hand-washing. It takes an ironclad immune system, one that can easily fight off invaders. But how can you get a super-strong immune system? We all know the typical advice that we should eat healthier, exercise and get eight hours of shut-eye. But what else can we do to boost our immune systems? Keep reading for the latest and greatest (and super easy!) ways to boost your immune system and stay healthy this season ... and all year long.
3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Immune System
1. Focus On Your GutDid you know that your gut contains 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system? That means your gut is a prime influencer of your overall health. Take care of your gut, and it’s a clear path to better physical and emotional health. Here are some of the best ways to take care of your gut:
- Eat fermented foods every day - Fermented foods have active probiotics, live bacteria essential to good gut health. These include items like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso, yogurt and kimchi. If you’re not a huge fan, take a daily probiotic instead. We love the probiotic in VIBE Protein Shakes because it’s proven to have the highest sustainability rate on the market. This is a huge deal because many probiotics don’t survive the journey to the gut, rendering them useless!
- Fill up on fiber - A healthy diet of fruits, veggies, beans and legumes stimulates healthy bacteria in the gut and can prevent certain disease-causing bacteria. Need some grocery store guidance? Check out this high-fiber grocery list.
- Just say no to your sweet tooth - If you can’t resist sweets, you're putting your gut health at risk, as added sugars and processed foods decrease the number of good bacteria in the gut.
- Cut back on NSAIDs - NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are popular drugs used to treat pain and inflammation. However, NSAIDS also damage the lining of the gut, and research shows that long-term use can keep the immune system from functioning at full capacity. Perhaps most concerning, it can raise the risk of heart and kidney failure events.
- Don’t insist on antibiotics - No one likes to suffer through a lengthy cold. Yet many of us are guilty of going to the doctor and insisting on antibiotics. Many doctors aren’t helping the situation either! According to the CDC (page 5 of this 2018 report), U.S. doctors prescribe around 30 percent of antibiotics unnecessarily. The reality is most upper respiratory infections are viral. Because antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, you’ll be putting your gut health out of whack for no reason. In fact, it takes 3–6 months for the health of the gut to fully recover from a single round of antibiotics.