How to Boost Your Immune System this Summer

Catching a cold during the hot summer months seems like the ultimate contradiction. In fact, many people believe it is only possible to get sick in the winter. However, the common cold can strike throughout any season, which means boosting your immune system is a year-round job.

Follow these suggestions to help stay healthy all summer long:

  • Break bad habits. Smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol often can seriously impact your health. According to Everyday Health, tobacco defeats basic immune system defenses and also raises risk for bronchitis and pneumonia. Drinking alcohol excessively also damages the immune system and can increase susceptibility to lung infections.
  • Eat a colorful, well-balanced diet. Stock up on seasonal produce to fuel your immune system with the nutrients it needs to fight off infections. A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lead to reduced risk for chronic disease, which ultimately leads to an improved immune system.
  • Get plenty of rest. Your sleeping pattern directly contributes to a stable immune system. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. Additionally, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising consistently can flush the bacteria out of your lungs and airways, promote good blood circulation, and slow down the release of stress-related hormones. All of these things contribute to a healthy immune system, according to Medline Plus. It is recommended that the average adult gets at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.
  • Proactively avoid infection. Researchers at Harvard Health say the best way to avoid getting sick is by taking precautionary steps to avoid being infected. This includes washing your hands frequently throughout the day, washing produce, cooking raw meats thoroughly and never consuming anything past its expiration date.

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Photo Credit: Alberto Vitalucci

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