Our immune systems protect us from the elements and microscopic disease-causing organisms, and with all of that power it’s important to take a look at what can help boost your immune system to the best of your ability. Simple, small changes at home can be made to bolster your body and give it a fighting chance against the elements.

According to Harvard Medical School, although researchers are increasingly studying the effects lifestyle has on the immune system, results are preliminary. It may take time to understand the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune system. However, they do know a combination of factors, healthy balances and choices through diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other behavioral approaches can boost or bust the immune system.

Expensive medical treatments and supplements aren’t necessarily the key to conquering illnesses, so instead look at these at-home immune system secrets to help your body perform at its peak.

 

1. Fasting

Periodic breaks from eating for a couple days a year have been shown to protect the immune system of healthy middle-aged people, the elderly, and even patients undergoing chemotherapy. Researchers from the University of Southern California found starving immune cells from nutrients drops the body’s healthy white blood cell count. However, when eating resumes, it bounces back to greater numbers than before. 

2. Music

Not only has music been shown to boost the immune system, but it also has the power to reduce pain and was better at reducing stress than prescription medications before surgery. Music listeners had a high number of natural killer cells, which are responsible for attacking bacteria, infected cells, and even cancerous cells.   

3. Sex

Applying sexual prowess into a bi-weekly routine will boost your body’s production of immunoglobulin A, a virus and bacterial fighting antibody, by 30 percent. Linger in bed afterward or bring your partner to the couch for a cuddling and a movie-session for laughter and lounging, and it’ll increase your body’s disease-fighting T-cell antibody storages. 

4. Astragalus

This herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and has shown to support the immune system. It’s available as a dietary supplement and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties used to combat viruses, according to the University of Maryland Medical System

5. Walk in the Woods

A Japanese study found after people gazed at forest scenery for 20 minutes, their cortisol stress levels dropped 13.4 percent below people who viewed urban settings. “Forest bathing” or “forest therapy” has the ability to boost the immune system because it isn’t being bathed in cortisol, which is known to lower immune systems. 

6. Coconut Oil Coffee

The powers of coconut oil continue as it is now prepared with coffee for an immune system boost. Coconut oil is mostly made of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) that reduce need for sugars and don’t allow fat to be stored, which increases metabolism and boosts the immune system. 

7. Sauna

Australian researchers found people who had a sauna steam twice a week caught half as many colds compared to those who didn’t, in a six-month study. Unfortunately, once the cold starts, a sit in a sauna will do nothing to improve symptoms or speed up recovery time. 

8. Green Tea

Antioxidants in general are excellent cleansers for the body, but they also significantly improve the immune system because they fight free radicals that can weaken you. It has also shown to help blood pressure and maintain heart health. 

9. Kissing

Pucker up to a better immune system. An NYU study found when kissers exchange microorganisms it builds the immune system, especially for women during pregnancy and childbirth. 

10. Wine and Blueberries

The compound resveratrol found in wine, blueberries, and even red grapes combined with fungal-fighting pterostilbene, also found in grapes and blueberries have even greater benefits. Mix that in with vitamin D and you have a strong line of defense within the immune system, which may also help keep antibiotics from losing their effectiveness overtime, according to Oregon State University researchers. 

11. Be Social

Surrounding yourself with people has shown to help the body heal quicker, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. Physicians have found a link between chronic disease and loneliness, suggesting social isolation may increase stress and slow the immune system’s response. People were 50 percent more likely to survive health problems if they had strong relationship ties, than those who did not. 

12. Sour Milk

Probiotics found in Kefir from sour milk give the immune system up to five times the amount of disease-fighters than yogurt does. Probiotics also contain iodine, which also help the thyroid gland regulate the immune system. An American Health Association study found yogurt reduces bad cholesterol and cuts UTI risk by 47 percent.