It’s the start of another year and it’s time to make your New Year resolutions. One resolution that most people make but have difficulty in sticking to is being healthier. Whether it’s improving your diet, lowering stress, exercising more, or quitting smoking, adopting healthier lifestyle habits holds significant health benefits, in particular if you suffer from allergies. Making these changes is a great way to naturally boost immunity and build resistance to invading bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other allergens.
Here are 5 lifestyle changes you can make to naturally boost immunity in the year ahead.
Resolution 1. Eat Healthy
Maintaining a healthy weight helps prevent leading diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. In addition, research has shown that obesity makes individuals more vulnerable to short-term illnesses such as the flu and respiratory infections. The good-news is that changing what you eat and getting adequate exercise can reverse the damaging effects of obesity on your immunity system.
Lower your intake of foods high in fat and cholesterol. This infographic from Sparkpeople lists foods that are particularly beneficial for improving your body’s immunity to common colds and flu. If you suffer from allergies, then also include allergy fighting-foods such as citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, and lemons), tomatoes, broccoli, capers, green tea, stinging nettle, kale, apples, and spices (ginger, turmeric, and cayenne) in your diet.
Resolution 2. Exercise Regularly
While the physical benefits of regular exercise include stronger heart, lungs and muscles, exercise also increases immunity booster cells in your body that are specifically designed to fight bacteria. Regular moderate intensity exercises such as thirty minute walks, going to the gym thrice a week, or biking with your kids can improve the level of these natural killer cells in your body by 50 to 300 percent.
Interestingly, although moderate exercise increases immunity and resistance to respiratory infections, rigorous exercising (think high-performance athletes) can work the other way round inhibiting the ability of certain immune cells to work properly. Listen to your body while exercising and take it easy if you feel under the weather.
Resolution 3. Get Adequate Sleep
In a 24/7 environment where most of us work long hours and are constantly bombarded by digital information through our phones and TV, sleep can soon become an expendable commodity. Lack of adequate sleep for extended periods is known to have significant detrimental effects on immune functioning, and increase your vulnerability to colds, flu and fever.
So how much should you sleep? While most people require 8 hours of sleep at night, some may need as much as 10 hours or as few as 5-6 hours. Maintain regular sleeping pattern – go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time. Also, reduce consumption of caffeinated drinks and other stimulants.
Resolution 4. Stop Smoking
Smoking contributes to a host of health problems, one of them being a weaker immune system. Smoking depresses the production of antibodies and cells that protect against foreign invaders. This damage can be reversed if the smoker gives up cigarettes.
Resolution 5. Consume Less Alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol prevents nutrients from feeding your immune system and reduces the white blood cell count in the body. Taking one or two drinks a night is not likely to harm your immune system, but three or more drinks is a different story. Even one alcohol binging session can lower your immunity.
For most part, moderation in eating, exercise and consumption of stimulants is key to building your immunity naturally and staying fit.
What will be your New Year Resolution for 2015?
- Stop smoking
- Enjoy life more
- Quit Drinking
- Get Organized
- Learn something new
- Spend more time with the family
- Any others? Comment below!