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Boosting Your Immune System Before Flu Season

Blink once, and the summertime has passed, leaving cooler days and colorful foliage. Blink twice, and before you know it the chill of winter will be upon us, gusting in with snowy days and snuggly nights. Unfortunately, facing the approach of winter also means preparing for the return of flu season. But since we’re not quite into flu season yet, there’s plenty you can start doing to beef up that immune system!

Foods

odsGood old chicken noodle soup, right? Every time there’s a kid with a cold, there’s inevitably a mom who is force feeding that kid as much chicken noodle soup as he or she can take. Except that chicken noodle soup really does help in fighting off colds! In addition to containing electrolytes, it has anti-inflammatory and mucus reducing properties that make it an ideal food when you’re under the weather. Interestingly, some say that if you’re looking to stop a cold before it starts, you should hold off on the chicken soup and switch to tomato. Other foods that can ward off sickness include Chamomile tea, oats, and chili peppers. And of course, always of utmost importance, remember to keep your body hydrated with plenty of water!

Supplements

Supplements are probably the most obvious way to boost immunity. And within that most obvious way are the most obvious supplements, the ones that you’ve heard about every single time you’ve ever gotten sick: Vitamin C and Zinc. Granted, those are classically great. Yet there are some incredible immune boosters out there that are just starting to make a name for themselves. Colostrum, a form of mother’s milk that contains antibodies which protect against disease, and Elderberry extract, a supplement used for its antioxidant properties and activity against viruses/influenza, are both exceptionally beneficial for boosting the immune system.


Exercise

While experts aren’t entirely sure on the why, studies have found that exercise can help ward off infections. Theories on this range from the increased rate of circulation during activity helping white blood cells to find and identify invaders more quickly, to the rise in body temperature acting like a miniature fever and preventing bacterial growth. The one time that exercise should never be attempted is when you suspect you might be catching a bug or are already fighting one off. This is because when you are sick or coming down with something, your body needs to be able to put all of its energy into combating whatever is attacking it. The extra stress of a workout that can be so beneficial when you’re healthy now just becomes an additional drain on your body’s resources, possibly prolonging or intensifying your illness. So if you’re already feeling under the weather, skip the workouts for a while.


Cupping Therapy

A practice centered around the ancient Chinese beliefs of energies and chis, cupping therapy is a natural, relaxing, and non-invasive detoxification technique that places small cups, usually made of rubber or glass, at different keys areas of the body. The cups are then suction sealed, creating a vacuum that forces an increase in blood flow and draws toxins stored in tissue around the body. It is only once those toxins have been flushed out that they can be properly disposed of. The increased flow of blood and energy also results in a stronger physical body, boosting immunity and helping to combat infection.


De-stressing

Nothing can wear the body’s immune systems down faster than stress. Stress affects the body in so many negative ways, such as keeping you up all night (sleep deprivation is a sure way to find yourself coming down with something). If you’re leading a stressful life, you’re running a much higher risk for contracting an illness, not to mention the other bad effects that come with stress. So as flu season approaches, make sure you’re taking plenty of time for yourself to unwind. Ensure you’re setting aside time to practice the recreational activities you enjoy and perhaps learn some relaxation techniques. Did you and your significant other have a rough week at work? Maybe the weekend is a great time to go and get a couples massage. But whatever you need to do for yourself, keep those stress levels down! Do you have any favorite tips or tricks for boosting your immune system? Share in the comments below!