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How to boost your immune system

| Wellness | Healthy You

Various spices and vegetables in individual bowls prepared for a recipe

Here are a few foods and tips to lessen your chance of getting sick.

No matter what viruses or other bugs might be going around, you can take steps to ward off things that can make you sick.

Several habits can strengthen your body's immunity.

Foods for immunity

One way to protect your immunity is by paying attention to what you put into your body.

Here are a few key points:

  • Avoid eating processed foods.
  • Limit or avoid sugar and starch.
  • Choose plant-based, whole foods.
  • Eat enough protein — about half your body weight in grams — each day.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol.
  • If you smoke, quit.

Focus on flavonoids with antiviral properties:

  • Catechins and epicatechin gallate (green tea).
  • Hesperidin (citrus fruits).
  • Kaempferol (spinach, cabbage, dill).
  • Lauric acid (unrefined virgin coconut oil).
  • Oleuropein (olives and extra virgin olive oil).
  • Quercetin (dill, onion, oregano, chili pepper, apples, leafy greens, broccoli).

You can also try adding the following antiviral and immune-boosting herbs and spices to the meals you prepare for yourself and your family:

  • Chili pepper, oregano, rosemary, or turmeric.
  • Fresh garlic and ginger.

These foods can help keep your gut bacteria healthy. Having balanced gut bacteria, known as your microbiome, is crucial for keeping inflammation in check.

Did you know that up to 60% of our immune systems trace back to good gut health? The following prebiotic and probiotic foods can help:

  • Apples, bananas, burdock root, jicama root, Jerusalem artichokes, Konjac root.
  • Dandelion greens, flaxseed.
  • Kefir.
  • Kimchi.
  • Miso.
  • Seaweed.
  • Tempeh.

More than food

It isn't only what you eat — or don't eat. You can also increase your odds of preventing or recovering from an illness with the following habits:

  • Get outside — take a walk and avoid populated areas.
  • Get regular mild to moderate exercise — 30 to 45 minutes, five times a week.
  • Start your own home garden.
  • Practice meditation and yoga to reduce stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay connected with loved ones, either in person or via technology.
  • Take vitamins, including a daily multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc (20 mg per day), quercetin ascorbate (1/4 teaspoon, twice per day).