Vitality

3 Proven Hacks To Boost Your Immunity

In the face of the coronavirus outbreak that began near the end of 2019, many of us have forgotten that there is a deadlier and far more common illness that has long afflicted Americans every year: influenza. In fact, according to infectious disease specialist Sandra Kesh, about 16,000 have died as a result of flu throughout this season alone. That stands in comparison to the first recorded coronavirus fatality in the country, as per The New York Times.

The good news is that you can prevent both viruses from hitting you hard by doing one simple thing, and that is by boosting your immune system, which you can do through these proven hacks:

Reduce stress 

Stress affects all aspects of our body, from brain health to weight loss, and not even the immune system is spared from it. It causes you to get sick continually, even if you are doing things right.

That is because when levels of cortisol are not kept within their normal range, whether early in childhood or throughout aging, they can adversely affect the healing properties of your body. 

"From slowing wound healing to diminishing the protective effects of vaccines to increasing your susceptibility to infection, stress is the ultimate immune-modulator," Robin Berzin, NY-based physician, said.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle 

This is actually a part of reducing stress, but it also involves a healthy diet and getting the right amount of sleep. 

Getting the right amount of sleep (a full 7 to 8 hours) keeps your body alert to any illness-causing pathogens. "Sleep is when your immune system repairs itself, the mitochondria clean themselves up, and the liver does most of its detoxification," Heather Moday, allergist and immunologist, said. That is why when you fall sick, your body feels so run-down.

Eating a nutrient-rich diet, one that is high in fruits, vegetables and other anti-inflammatory foods, has been proven by studies to have a direct and positive health impact on your body's immune response and can help protect it against diseases.

Practice sanitary balance

Too much is as bad as too little, and that applies to practicing good sanitation.
 
During flu season, it is best to wipe down surfaces that were touched by many people, such as airplane trays and doorknobs or door handles. However, "overdoing the cleaning can be just as bad as underdoing it," Kesh said. "You have to strike that balance." 

Although many of us have long had a negative view of germs, exposure to some of them is actually good for the immune system. "If you are living in a sterile environment, you will be more susceptible to infections when exposed," Kesh added.

So when necessary, wash your hands or use hand sanitizers, but you may probably not need to unless you have touched something dirty, are about to eat a meal or have gone to the bathroom. "If you wash your hands 50 times a day, your skin will get dry and cracked, which is a perfect portal of entry for infection," Kesh noted.

Wuhan Coronavirus Wuhan seafood market closed after the new coronavirus was detected there for the first time on January 1, 2020. SISTEMA 12/Wikimedia Commons

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