A single sniffle. An itchy throat. A slight headache.
Brace yourself: a cold is coming.
It’s winter and the changing seasons are not always forgiving; even when you have a pretty solid diet and exercise routine, it’s hard to avoid seasonal flu, colds, and allergies. This is especially true when you have children to take care of, work in an open space office, or take public transportation.
That’s pretty much everybody!
If you’re feeling sick or are worried about the office cold-domino-effect, it’s time to boost your immune system.
When you first feel the signs of impending sickness, it’s easy to run to the drugstore or medicine cabinet.
But you don’t have to!
There are many simple ways to boost the immune system and today we’re giving you the top 10 you can implement today.
Immunity 101: How to Boost Your Immune System
The immune system is the body’s defense system. It’s made up of a network of organs, tissue, and cells that travel through the bloodstream protecting the body against antigens or foreign bodies that cause disease.
The body’s primary defense cells are white blood cells that seek out and halt or destroy disease-causing substances or organisms.
White blood cells or leukocytes are produced and stored in various parts of the body including the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the lymph nodes.
They act as filters trapping bacteria, viruses, and other potential causes of disease. If you’re looking into strategies that boost immune system you ought to be looking at getting your white blood cell count up.
You can usually feel the lymph nodes in your neck (right behind the jaw and under the ears) when they’re swollen from fighting an infection.
If you’re sneezing, experiencing an itchy throat, or feel a little tired for no reason, check your neck’s lymph nodes and if they’re a bit inflamed know that they’ve started to do their job!
Help boost immune system organs, tissue, and blood cells with these anti-cold hacks:
Cold, Bye! Immune System Defenses for the Winter
The question “how do I boost my immune system?” brought you here, now that you know the basics of the immune system, how it works, and which area to strengthen the most (white blood cell count!), relax and use as many of these strategies as you can.
#1 Continue to Exercise:
If that heading immediately prompted you to say “but WHY?” don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it seems.
When you’re feeling a little under the weather the last thing you want to hear about is the gym or a workout, but if you feel like you can make it to one of your regular workout sessions, and modify as needed, you can help boost immune system cells and eliminate toxins!
Research shows that something as simple as regular walking may help increase white blood cell count, while the physical activity may also help flush out bacteria stuck to the lungs and airways. Both of which are essential in eliminating, stopping, or reducing the undesirable effects of the common cold.
Exercise helps boost immune system white blood cells: when you exercise WBC increase in number and circulate more quickly and efficiently throughout the body, therefore aerobic and cardiovascular exercise -even low impact- is ideal to boost the immune system on those first few days before the infection takes hold.
See? Not so hard! Just get your heart pumping,
#2 Schedule and Respect Sleep
When your system is fighting a coming virus or infection, rest is critical. If you’re looking for the easiest way to boost immune system networks in your body - sleep! And don’t just plop down for a nap, create a schedule that gives you enough REM cycles (two to three 90 minutes cycles) to allow your body’s magic to take place.
When you sleep, your body releases a protein called cykotine, which is needed to fight infection and reduce inflammation.
How to boost immune system organs and cells with sleep:
Schedule sleep in your calendar, get rid of blue light at least one hour before bedtime (yes, that means putting the phone away), and prepare for a restful night. If you have trouble sleeping, support good sleep with a herbal infusion like our Gold, and make sure you get up early in the morning.
Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, but excess sleep does as well! Stick to a routine that works for you.
#3 Drink Turmeric and Ginger Root Tea
We’re superfood lovers -and promoters- here, and we know that one of the best ways to flush out toxins is through nutrition. We’ve talked about the benefits of turmeric and the benefits of ginger root extensively; they’re both star ingredients in our products, but they’re particularly useful to fight colds.
Given that they both help with circulation, have rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the combination of these superfoods in tea form is not just comforting but a great shield against seasonal cold symptoms.
Prepare the Tea:
Boost immune system shields with a simple homemade infusion with one teaspoon of turmeric powder, five ginger root slices, and eight to ten black peppercorns, boiled for ten minutes at medium-high heat. Add some lime for an extra Vitamin C kick and flavor.
#4 Visit a Steam Room
Fun! If you made it to the gym to hit the treadmill for at least thirty minutes, try to follow up with a nice twenty-minute steam room session. It might seem counterproductive to be around sweaty people at this time, but you’ll actually be cleaning out your airways, opening up your pores (skin is the largest human organ!), and increasing white blood cell count.
Studies show that after just one steam room session relatively healthy individuals find increased numbers of white blood cells count, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and basophils - all necessary to fight and prevent infection.
#5 Up the Vitamin C Intake
When people think of how to boost immune system organs, one of the first things that come to mind is Vitamin C and with reason: Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system by stimulating and aiding the production of white blood cells.
Also assisting existing WBC get rid of the compounds they make when they attack a foreign body with its antioxidant properties, and also by helping the body produce proteins that bind invading microbes (aka antibodies.)
Vitamin C is an essential component in the fight against the common cold, to boost immune system cells, and to prevent seasonal disorders.
At Organifi we’re preparing an Immunity Boosting extract that will radically increase and simplify Vitamin C intake and absorption, to be launched soon! But in the meantime:
- Drink natural orange juice when possible, especially for breakfast
- Aim for up to 200 mg of Vitamin C at a time to ensure 100% absorption
- Include Vitamin C rich foods in your diet in natural form: guavas, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, kale, snow peas, etc.
#6 Use Lavender Oil as Hand Sanitizer
The FDA decided to ban hand sanitizers in order to help our bodies recover, boost immune system cells, and allow antibiotics to keep working - before it’s too late. While washing your hands with simple soap and water is still one of the best ways to keep foreign bacterias at a minimum, lavender oil is an excellent alternative for hand sanitizing.
Lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, even though it is mostly known for its relaxing and antidepressant ones.
Boost Your Immune System with Lavender:
- Use a few drops of any lavender essential oil on your hands as sanitizer
- Inhale using a humidifier, essential oil burner, or adding a few drops to a bowl of hot water, then leaning over it and covering yourself and the bowl with a towel.
- Add a few drops to raw coconut oil and place around your nostrils before sleep to clear out your airways and possibly improve the quality of sleep.
#7 Eat Foods with Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good and necessary for your body, the bacteria in probiotics are responsible for optimum gut health, and they can also be a way to boost immune system cells in the body. Clinical analysis shows that probiotics mediate immunoregulatory effects in the host (that would be us) in the face of infection.
How to boost immune system networks with probiotics:
- Have some kimchi, kombucha, or unpasteurized sauerkraut.
- Eat some sugar-free natural Greek yogurt, kefir, lassi or leban. Bonus points if you throw in some orange chunks or strawberries for Vitamin C!
- Enjoy some tasty miso soup or tempeh-based meals.
You can also take a Balance Probiotic Supplement.
#8 Open the Windows
The Pennsylvania Department of Health released a newsletter urging adults and children to “play outside” due to the benefits of fresh winter air for the immune system. Let your home boost immune system properties with the same principle: let fresh air in!
It might be getting chilly -or downright cold- outside, but opening the windows and letting fresh air in will help ionize indoor air and get rid of lingering bacteria. Go to a different room while you let the air in and make sure your body is still comfortably warm if you’re feeling the onset of a cold.
#9 Stay Hydrated
If you want to know how to boost immune system cells and organs efficiently: drink water and stay hydrated. Your body will need the fluids to create an optimum atmosphere for your lymph nodes to do their job, get the blood circulating properly, and allow vitamins and minerals to reach their destinations easily.
Water is known to be the elixir of life, it does not get better or healthier than water. You can also use it as an excuse to drink All The Soups! Chicken soup, bone broth, garlic soup - your favorite immune system concoction will do the trick.
#10 Lift Your Mood and Feel Good!
Your stress levels, bad mood, and anxiety are no joke. Studies over the years show that there is a correlation and overlap between emotional responses and the immune system. If you want to boost your immune system and keep Schwarzenegger-in-Terminator strong, you have to find daily ways to feel good - and stay there!
- Practice meditation
- Relax with a good book
- Talk to family and friends
- Dance and sing -not just in the shower!
Think of your body as an organization with many employees, the immune system is a department: everyone works better with the right tools and the right mood. Boost immune system defenses with these ten easy tricks and forget about seasonal colds.
You’re Schwarzenegger strong.