Your body has its natural defenses against illness, but sometimes things still get through. To some degree, itâ€™s unavoidable; youâ€™re not invincible. Youâ€™re just going to get sick sometimes.
Yet, thereâ€™s a difference between accepting the fact that youâ€™re going to occasionally get sick and sitting back and letting it happen. The fact of the matter is that there are things you can do to help your immune system along.
Here are some things people have used in the past to help boost their immune systems:
Thatâ€™s right; the most important thing some people can do to turbo charge their immune system is just go to bed. This has been well-researched and well-documented. Getting between six and eight hours of sleep each and every night leads to a healthier lifestyle. Many people find themselves susceptible to illness simply because they canâ€™t get enough sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, consider talking to your health care provider. A simple overnight sleep study can check for health concerns like sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can not only affect your immune system, it can also have negative effects on your mood and your mental health.
When youâ€™re traveling, you need to take extra care to get enough sleep. Youâ€™re going to be exposed to all sorts of new viruses and bacterial, and you need your immune system to be in top shape.
People may use a number of different nutritional supplements to help boost their immune systems, as well. Natural supplements that are believed to help with your immune system include:
Vitamin C. This vitamin is one of the main immune system boosters. There has been substantial research demonstrating this. Vitamin C is, fortunately, relatively inexpensive to obtain. You can also purchase a number of different foods that are reinforced with Vitamin C. Experts recommend about 200 mg per day of this vitamin.
Vitamin E. This vitamin doesnâ€™t get talked about as much as vitamin C, but itâ€™s important, too. It helps with the production of B-cells, which are cells in your immune system that help create antibodies and destroy bacteria. The usually recommended dosage of Vitamin E is 30 to 50 mg per day.
Echinacea. This herb comes from a group of wildflowers. Itâ€™s thought by proponents to stimulate the immune system, help prevent upper respiratory tract infections, and even help with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. There is not a standard dosage for this one, so talk with your doctor.
Zinc. Many nutritionists believe that Zinc is the most important mineral you can supplement your diet with. Zinc helps product T cells and natural killer cells, and it may even work to help antibodies that fight infection, as well. The normal recommendation for Zinc is 15 to 30 mg per day for men, and 10 to 20 mg per day for women.
You can purchase a supplement over the counter that contains all three of these ingredients to help your immune system stay on top of things. Talk with your doctor, of course, before you start this kind of supplement, to make sure itâ€™s right for you.
Increase your fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables natural have greater amounts of antioxidants, which are known to help turbo charge your immune system. In particular, fruits that may be able to help your immune system be stronger include:
- Pink grapefruit
Vegetables that may help with your immune system can include:
- Sweet potatoes
Choosing these foods can be challenging when youâ€™re traveling, as you have less control over your menu than when youâ€™re at home, of course.
Avoid sugary foods
You might not be aware of it, but some studies have demonstrated that an excess of sugars in your diet can be harmful in more ways than just your waistline and your teeth. Too much sugar in your diet may negatively impact your immune system, and make it harder to fight infection.
Get those Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are one of the basic immune system boosters, and work with other nutrients to help turbo charge your immune system. They help to increase the activity of macrophages in your body. Those are the white blood cells in your body that consume bacteria.
Ideally, youâ€™ll get your omega-3 fatty acids through your regular diet. If youâ€™re traveling and want to make sure you get enough, you can consider the option of fish oil tablets to make up for a possible deficiency.
Everyone gets sick sometimes, but thereâ€™s no reason you shouldnâ€™t go down fighting. Try some of these ways to turbo charge your immune system, and see if they work for you.
Dorothy Wheaton, PA-C, is the lead clinical provider for Careworks Convenient Healthcare, an organization that offers a number of walk-in healthcare clinics and urgent care centers in the Northeast United States.