Schools are returning to in-person instruction, and international borders are reopening. However, the threat of COVID-19 hasn’t disappeared, with the Delta variant causing breakthrough infections and vaccines still unavailable for those younger than 12. Plus, the cold and flu season has almost arrived.
Therefore, it makes sense to do anything you can to improve your body’s natural defenses. Here are six unique immune boosters to consider this year.
1. Bioavailable Supplements
Medical science knows that you absorb nutrients from food more effectively than supplements but remain unsure of the exact mechanisms. One exciting avenue of research involves the use of bioenhancers to increase the bioavailability of certain supplements. Piperine, a substance found in black pepper, is one of the most notable to date. Adding it to turmeric can enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by 2,000%.
Another innovation lies in the method of delivery. Requiring medications and vitamins to pass through your digestive tract can result in losing some of the benefits. IV therapy lets vital substances like medicines and nutrients enter your bloodstream at a controlled pace, leading to superior absorption and effectiveness.
When purchasing supplements, learn what fillers to avoid. Some of these have dangerous side effects, and others can decrease absorption. Save money on versions that don’t work as effectively by seeking products tested for heavy metal contamination.
2. Fermented Foods
One of the most vital parts of your immune system might lie in your gut. For example, certain cells in your intestinal lining exist to excrete massive quantities of antibodies, proteins that fight infection.
Additionally, an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your guts can weaken your overall immune response, leaving you tired and sluggish. Your intestines possess colonies of these organisms that assist in your digestion when they remain in the ideal balance.
One of the best ways to restore this balance is to eat fermented foods. Substances such as yogurt and sauerkraut contain naturally occurring probiotic bacteria that help to replenish your intestinal flora. You can also drink your probiotics as kombucha or kefir.
3. A Plant-Based Diet
What are antioxidants? They might be one of your best defenses against disease. Where do you find these microscopic miracle workers? In plants.
Antioxidants work by preventing damage from free radicals, electrons you encounter from environmental toxins like pollution, even the food you eat. These unpaired electrons go looking for mates, often stealing them from your body’s cells, leading to cellular damage and death.
However, antioxidants provide these missing electrons, preventing free radicals from damaging your body’s cells. You don’t have to live on salads to up your fruit and vegetable intake. Try sprinkling some blueberries and bananas to your morning cereal or adding some sliced jicama or a kale leaf to your lunchtime wrap.
Exercise helps to boost your immune system through several mechanisms. One is the simple act of increasing your rate of respiration. Breathing more heavily while you walk or jog helps expel bacteria and viruses from your airways,
Getting moving also increases your core body temperature. This rise acts like a miniature fever, helping to bake some germs before they can settle in, replicate, and make you sick.
Finally, exercise causes changes in your white blood cells and antibody levels. Both of these play a vital role in maintaining overall immunity. The stronger your body’s defense system, the more likely you will fight off any germs you encounter before they make you sick.
5. Outdoor Therapy
Have you noticed that you always feel better after getting outdoors? You aren’t imagining things. Spending time in nature can improve your health by strengthening your immune response.
Investigators researched participants in forest-bathing, those who spent an overnight in a woodland environment. They found an increased number and activity in natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell tasked with seeking and destroying invading germs. The beneficial effects lasted up to 30 days.
You’re also less likely to catch the novel coronavirus outside than you are spending time in crowded indoor environments. Why not go for a trail run instead of logging miles on the treadmill? Your choice could keep you safer and healthier.
Finally, you need adequate rest to protect your immune response. Your body produces proteins called cytokines when you sleep. Cytokines serve many functions, one of which is as a messenger system. When one white blood cell detects a foreign invader, it releases a flood of these substances to rally the troops.
During sleep, your muscle and breathing activity slows down, freeing up vital energy for your body to produce more of these proteins. Since cytokines also spur inflammation, your body possibly evolved to handle this process during slumber to keep it from interfering with your waking duties. Regardless of the precise mechanism, a lack of sleep can leave you more prone to illness and infection.
Consider These 6 Unique Immune Boosters This Year
Even as pandemic protections evaporate and life returns to normal, the threat of illness from COVID-19 or another severe infection remains. Consider one or all of these six unique immune boosters this year.