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10 Ways to Boost your Immune System

Update Date: Oct 08, 2014 11:08 AM EDT

During the wintertime, more people become susceptible to illnesses, such as the common cold. Instead of waiting for these viruses to infect your body, take preventive measures. Here are 10 ways to boost your immune system:

1. Sleep

Sleep is extremely important all year round. However, during colder weather when viruses are circulating, sleep is even more important. When people lose out on sleep, it can have an inflammatory effect on the body, weakening it to these viruses. In order to keep your immune system working efficiently, remember to clock in seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

2. Exercise

Exercising everyday is another way to keep your immune system strong. Roughly 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise can boost your T-cells and antibody response, which can then fight off infections more effectively.

3. Yoga

Yoga, a less intensive form of exercise, can also help stave off infections. A study conducted by researchers from Washington State University reported that people who practiced lyengar, a form of yoga that focuses on precise alignment, had reduced levels of a protein that triggers stress. High stress levels can hurt your immune system.

4. Stay Social

Even though staying away from other people can reduce your chances of catching a virus, becoming socially isolated can also hurt your immune system. Instead, remember to keep a strong social support group that can help reduce stress levels, Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands, to prevent the spread of germs.

5. Eat Less Sugar

Sugar in general is not particularly healthy. It can reduce your white blood cells' effectiveness in fighting off foreign invaders. In order to prevent jeopardizing your immune system, stay away from foods made with sugar, cane juice or sucrose. If you are craving something sweet, stick to natural options, such as fruit or honey.

6. Eat Garlic

Garlic has natural antibacterial properties and eating it everyday can boost your immune system.

7. Fruits and Vegetables

Remember to consume fruits and vegetables. Berries and cruciferous vegetables, in particular, provide a lot of antioxidants that can improve your immune system.

8. Drink Tea

Certain types of tea, such as green, oolong and ginseng, can boost your immune system. These teas will give you a boost of amino acids, antioxidants and dietary phenols.

9. Relax

Since stress is tied to the immune system, keeping stress levels low is vital. One way to do so is to take a deep breath and just relax. A study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered that people who participated in mindfulness meditation developed a greater amount of antibodies in response to the flu vaccine when compared to people who did not meditate.

10. Music

Some studies have found that listening to music can boost the immune system. Researchers reported that people who listened to upbeat dance music for about an hour had higher levels of a protective antibody that assists in killing bacteria and viruses. Listening to music, in general, can also reduce stress levels.

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