Living for Immunity
Diet, weight, sleep, and stress all affect immune response. Give your system the upper hand, with these strategies for disease-free living.
Instead, focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes; they’re rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber to support immune health.
Some studies suggest excess body fat triggers inflammation and upsets the immune system. Additionally, obesity increases the risk of complications and death from influenza infection.
Alcohol disrupts the immune system and impairs the body’s ability to prevent infection. Drink in moderation, and stick to red wine; it’s high in resveratrol, which supports immunity.
SWAP COFFEE FOR TEA.
Tea is rich in L-theanine, which increases the body’s levels of virus-fighting compounds, and green tea also contains epigallocatechin (EGCG), a powerful immune booster.
GRAB YOUR MAT.
Yoga enhances immunity by lowering stress, reducing inflammation, and upping the body’s levels of cytokines, chemicals that regulate immune response.
SPICE UP YOUR MEALS.
Garlic is rich in compounds that increase immune-system activity, ginger is a potent antimicrobial, and capsaicin, the spicy component in cayenne pepper, protects against viruses.
It decreases the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria, and hampers immune response. If you crave sweets, stick to raw, unfiltered honey or Manuka honey—both inhibit the flu virus.
Peaceful slumber is critical for a strong immune system, and chronic sleep deprivation can increase your susceptibility to pathogens.
Chronic stress dysregulates immune responses by altering cytokines, increasing inflammation, and suppressing immunoprotective cells. Over time, ongoing stress can contribute to cancer and other diseases.