At-Home Steps to Boost Your Immune System

           No one enjoys getting sick or feeling ‘under the weather’, especially when we have a job, stay active, enjoy going out with friends, or take care of others and don’t want to pass along our germs. During our 'baby to early years' we get sick.. a lot- it's somewhat normal. As we get older, we tend to get sick less as our body develops an understanding of what we need protection against and we have our own innate immune response. As an adult, it's pretty normal to get sick once or twice a year (I'm talking general cold, not life threatening illness) because our body is reacting to whatever pathogen is trending. However, there are many natural therapies we can incorporate in our daily lives to help decrease severity and help boost our immune health. 
 
1) Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water (e.g. 150 lbs= 75 oz)
Water is essential to help flush toxins from your body, relieve fatigue, aid in our food digestion, cushion organs, lubricate joints, and provide nutrition and oxygen to all cells in our body. We are made up of about 60% water, and we constantly lose water every day through bathroom habits, tearing, sweating, and exercise. Aim for a light yellow color urine to make sure you’re getting enough water.
 
2) Make sure you get enough sleep!
Take naps if you have to- even 20-minute power naps have proven benefit. Be in bed by 10pm in a completely dark room (consider purchasing an eye mask for total darkness). Get at least 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night. Listen to your body, and consider 9pm for a little extra rest and regeneration. We can work on creating optimal sleep today if you experience moments such as waking up during the night, feeling unrested upon waking, or energy fluctuations.
 
3) Laugh!!
Watch a sitcom or the Daily Show off hulu.com or Netflix, go to a comedy club, surround yourself with humorous friends, or better yet if you have a furry friend, take out their favorite toy and watch them turn tricks! Laughing can increase the number and activity of natural killer cells and T lymphocytes, secretion of IgA, and other immune boosting properties. Make sure you laugh at least every day. You can even start by making yourself smile- your positive thoughts and emotions will follow suit.
 
4) Indulge in fresh vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, and mushrooms (which are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds), as well as citrus fruits (lemon, grapefruit, kiwi). Make at least half your plate vegetables, and cook with healthy oils, such as olive oil or coconut oil, in order to bring out the fat soluble nutrients, vitamin A, D, E, K.
 
5) End every hot shower with a blast of cold water on your chest for 5 seconds
Five seconds is not a lot. You can do this! You are now relaxed after your warm shower, and a quick burst of cold water is enough to constrict and contract your blood vessels and muscles to move the lymph to all areas of the body, providing optimal support. You receive more benefit the larger the contrast of water temperatures.
 
Most importantly, listen to your body and you are the best judge if symptoms are improving or worsening. This is your body creating a natural defense to a virus, and you’re supporting yourself through this time. Even just by doing some of these treatments, you are already receiving benefits. These daily habits not only benefit your health in this moment, but may serve as prevention for other ailments.