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Our immune systems do a remarkable job when it comes to protecting us against disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. But sometimes our bodies fail and then we get sick – maybe our diet is not perfect or we were a little more stressed-out during the last few weeks? Here are some tips for how to naturally increase your immunity.

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Eat more garlic

Anytime you cook a meal and there is a chance to add garlic, do it! Garlic is known to be one of the most powerful health foods in the world. It appears to increase the amount of killer white blood cells in the body, helping to fight viruses and bacteria before they have a chance to develop. It strengthens the immune system and improves resistance to diseases in the long-term. If you want an intense immune support you can chew on fresh garlic cloves.

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Get some rest

Constant stress and being under pressure leads to decreased functionality of the immune system. Chronically high levels of stress can result in shrinking of the thymus gland, which is a critical component of the adaptive immune system. It is very common that we catch a cold or flu just after a stressful week at work or after finishing project with a pressing deadline. Try setting aside time for relaxation and have at least 30 minutes of time for yourself every day, whether you play music, do yoga, read a good book, or practice mindfulness exercises. Even half an hour per day could make a difference.

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Drink Echinacea tea

There was some confusion about the actual efficacy of Echinacea tea in the past but recent studies show a promising link between Echinacea and an increased immune response. Echinacea will help you to recover quickly if you are already undergoing a viral infection, perhaps due to its anti-inflammatory effects. You can buy Echinacea syrups in the pharmacy or pick up some dried Echinacea in most health food stores—just add 2 tbsp to a cup of boiling water to make a tea. Steep the tea for 15 minutes, strain it, and drink. You can repeat this treatment 2-3 times a day.

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Cut back on sugar

Although a refreshing soda during a hot day or a bar of chocolate after a stressful day at work might seem tempting, it’s worth cutting back on artificial sugars to improve your immune system. It has been shown that just 10 tsp of sugar will stop your white blood cells from working properly, making you more likely to get ill when exposed to viruses and bacteria. Although all sweeteners are contentious for some reason or other, the best sugar substitute is probably stevia—it comes from a plant, and isn’t associated with the same negative side-effects that are linked to artificial products like aspartame.

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Sing

Some surprising findings emerged from the new research conducted by a group of German scientists. Results show that singing stimulates increased spleen activity, leading to higher concentrations of antibodies in the blood. And the great news is that you don’t need to be an amazing singer to get this benefit— singing in the shower or during your other daily activities is just as effective as taking part in a professional choir!

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Add more mushrooms to your diet

Mushroom such as maitake, reishi and shiitake are all rich in immunity-boosting compounds that encourage your body to produce more active white blood cells that are ready to fight viruses and bacteria. Like garlic, mushrooms are also the most powerful products that can be included in your diet so include them in your meals whenever you have a chance!

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Get active

If you are carrying some extra pounds, think about starting up your own exercise regime and adopting a healthy diet to help reduce your risk of catching infections. Research shows that that people who are overweight get ill more often, and it appears that their white blood cells are less capable of fighting pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Moderate exercise is also proven to boost immune system function, regardless of whether you are overweight.

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Stay warm

When the body temperature drops, you are more likely to catch an infection. One large study involved certain participants putting their feet into a bowl of cold water while the others put their feet into an empty container. Just after 20 minutes of keeping their feet cold, 20% of the former group developed a cold within five days (compared to only 9% of the control group). Get your warm socks on!

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Don’t overtrain

Exercise is great, but you should always aim to exercise moderately and not to the point of complete exhaustion. High-intensity workouts and cardiovascular exercises stop the production of an adequate amount of macrophages (which are cells that help to get rid of disease). Strenuous exercise will decrease your immune system response so you will be more likely to catch an infection following your workout. You should never train for more than 90 minutes at a time and always take regular recovery days.

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Laugh!

Laugh increases your levels of white blood cells, which target and kill viruses and bacteria. It is also known that regular laughter boosts antibody levels in the respiratory and nasal passages, potentially getting rid of unwanted microbes before they have a chance to cause illness.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.