Tips on boosting your immune system during flu season

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The high temperatures are finally subsiding and the Coachella Valley is entering the fall and winter seasons. Our climate in the desert is either super hot, almost 120 degrees, or cold, where we definitely need a warm sweater.

The weather transitions into an automatic change here in the desert, which means our bodies do not have enough time to get used to the shift from hot to cold, which leads to the flu season. Usually, the flu season is something we can conquer if we follow the right remedies, use medicine, and get enough sleep to overcome a cold. But with COVID-19 being similar to the normal flu, it will be difficult to distinguish the two if one is not carefully cautious.

This year, we have learned new scientific knowledge about the coronavirus and how it is accessible to the public. We are now more informed about its core effects than we did back in January when we first started to learn about the main symptoms.

Educating ourselves on how to have a high immune system, and keeping it is now a major priority in society and worldwide. To decrease the spread of COVID-19, we have to do our part by following health regulations as best as we can to stop this deadly virus. Even if someone gets the normal flu-cold symptoms, one can only imagine how someone can question if they got COVID-19 since they are similar.

How can we successfully boost up our immune system? There are many great considerations and scientific facts on how to start. After all, our immune system is a network of organs, cells, and proteins that serve our body’s first defense line against infection, bacteria, and unwanted pathogens.

Maintaining a strong, healthy immune system is crucial in these dark times, and it is important to note there is no supplement to protect you from COVID-19. You must follow the health guidelines: Wear a mask, maintain six feet apart, avoid large gatherings and sanitize your hands.

Here are simple, easy tips to follow to help build a strong immune system:

Take vitamin C supplements/consuming citrus fruits.

Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which helps your immune system fight off infections. It’s important to add vitamin C to one’s daily diet because even if someone gets sick, you will have a better chance of fighting off the common cold. It will not work as effectively if someone starts to consume vitamin C on feeling sick.

According to MedlinePlus, vitamin C is also known for these benefits besides boosting the immune system:

  • Forms important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels
  • Heals wounds and forms scar tissue
  • Repairs and maintains cartilage, bones and teeth
  • Aids in the absorption of iron

Vitamin C is found in these fruits: Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, limes, lemons and clementines. You can also find in:

  • red peppers, broccoli, garlic, spinach, yogurt, almonds
  • sunflower seeds, turmeric, green tea, papaya
  • kiwi, poultry, shellfish

The body is not able to produce vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. It’s important to include it in your diet for better results.

Form good sleep habits 

Research shows how the quality amount of sleep helps the immune system. According to PubMed.Gov, a study called Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold shows female and male adults who received less than six hours of sleep per night had higher chances to catch a common cold versus those who got seven hours or more of sleep.

Sleep is amazing for one’s health. Not only does it help your mind and body, getting enough sleep is one of the key tips not to get sick. When you do not sleep enough, you become fatigued, and your immune system decreases, making you more vulnerable to infections in the air.

To maximize your sleep hygiene, all electronics should be turned off at least an hour before bedtime, says on the Adventist Health make sure you are comfortable and clear all thoughts. If your mind is spinning and you have trouble sleeping, do breathing exercises like mediation.

Drinking chamomile tea before bed is helpful since it has natural herbs that relax the body too slumber. Having a disciplined sleeping schedule each night also helps.

Exercise regularly and have rest days 

Working out and consistently moving your body can reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate more efficiently. According to the study, Exercise and the Regulations of Immune Functions, “It is generally accepted that prolonged periods of intensive exercise training can depress immunity, while regular moderate-intensity exercise is beneficial.”

Do not over-exercise. This overstresses the body and decreases your immune system. You can work out regularly but know your limits. Adventist Health suggests, “Aim for around 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Regular movement can also boost your mood, strengthen bones and improve cardiovascular health.”

Eat more vegetables and fermented foods. 

Consuming whole plant foods like veggies, fruits, nuts and legumes daily decreases inflammation by fighting free radicals. Not only can you have a low immune system, but chronic inflammation is linked to other health conditions like heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Plants have natural fiber, which helps to feed your gut microbiome, which directly impacts immunity. Fermented foods like yogurt and kombucha help increase beneficial gut bacteria probiotics, which is helpful bacteria to help your immune cells.

Probiotic bacteria knows the difference between normal cells and harmful ones. There also probiotic supplements, but ask your healthcare provider if you can take these supplements.

Limit processed foods 

Limiting processed foods is a major challenge for people since our whole society is surrounded by tempting fast foods. Yet processed foods do not have any nutritional value.

Avoiding added sugars and refined carbohydrates will lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, etc. while helping your immune system.

Eating non-processed foods and replacing them with nutritional value foods will increase your chances of avoiding sickness. Health experts suggest limiting your sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calories if you can.

Practice hand hygiene 

We’ve heard it before: Wash your hands and sanitize. The main guideline is enforced today. Washing your hands regularly won’t boost your immune system, but it will definitely help prevent germs and diseases.