According to many health officials, the 2017-2018 influenza season was the most severe it has been in recent years. And as people are now trying to decide when and whether or not they will be vaccinated for the 2018-2019 flu season, many of us neglect to take matters into our own hands to strengthen our immune system. Here are some ways to protect the system that protects us from so many harmful germs.
- Get enough sleep and manage stress: It has been shown in study after study that insufficient sleep and stress can increase the body’s production of cortisol. This increase can weaken the body’s immune system. Experts recommend that most adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Take supplements: It’s always best to get your vitamins directly from food but let’s face it – this is difficult for most busy adults. That is why supplementation is a good option. Vitamins like A, C, D and E all have a positive effects on the immune system.
- Consider taking probiotics: acidophilus can also boost the immune system and thus help reduce the risk of viral infections. Studies show that other probiotics can help reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal infections. For example, fermented milk products – also known as cultured dairy foods – has been shown to reduce respiratory infections.
- Exercise more: According to WebMD, moderate exercise at least three times a week can help the body ward off colds and other attacks on the immune system.
- Try immune-supportive herbs: Herbs such as garlic, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticocus), Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), or astragalus ( membranaceus) have anti-microbial properties that assist the immune system.
- Avoid tobacco smoke: Smoking, among its many harmful effects, compromises basic immune defenses. It also increases the risk for pneumonia which puts the entire body in peril.
Of course, we are not recommending that you skip taking your flu shot this year. That is for you and your physician to decide. However, the above tips can help you strengthen your immune system all year round and this can only increase your well being. Natural health products are a supplement to exercise, a good diet and a physician’s care. At Cape Fear Naturals we believe in the natural, holistic approach to health and well being.