3 everyday tips to support your immune system
With cold and flu season coming you need to know more how to strengthen your immune system. Here are some tips.
1. Vitamin D is essential
Vitamin D, which is also called “vitamin of the sun”, is both the hormone and the liposoluble vitamin. According to laboratory studies, vitamin D helps immune cells identify and destroy bacteria and viruses that make us sick. It also improves our immune system’s function. Our body naturally produces vitamin D from sunlight. So the easiest way to get it is to go outside more often. If you live in a place where the sun is a rare guest, you need to consider taking vitamin D supplement. Studies show that at least 1000 IU daily will be enough (but consult with your doctor first).
2. Get soluble fiber daily
Soluble fiber helps fight inflammation. Citrus fruits, apples, carrots, beans and oats are a great source of this kind of fiber. Insoluble fiber, which you can find in wheat, whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables, is also important for overall health, but it doesn’t have the same impact on immunity. According to a recent study in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, mice that ate food rich in soluble fiber for 6 weeks recovered from a bacterial infection twice faster than it took mice that ate foods containing mixed fiber. Try to eat 25-38 grams of total fiber a day, paying extra attention to getting the soluble kind.
3. Stay lean
Try to maintain a healthy body weight, because overeating drags the immune system down. Some studies show that restricting calories may reduce levels of compounds in the body that depress your immune response. In one 6-month study of Tufts University overweight adults, who cut their daily calorie intake by nearly a third saw a 50% boost in immunity compared to those participants who cut calories only by 10%. Calorie restriction could work in normal-weight individuals, too. But when you lower the quantities of your foods, you need to be more scrupulous about the quality of what you put on your plate. More fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources (such as fish, chicken and low-fat dairy) and fiber should prevail in your menu