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Five ways to boost your immunity this spring

All Michiganders know our spring can sometimes tease us with days of warmer weather and then a swift return of winter’s frigid coldness. As we face these up and down temperatures, your immune system works extra hard to fight germs, and keep you healthy. To help your body ward off disease and infection, here are a few ways to boost your immunity this spring.

Eat Your Vitamin C

We know that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps a body stay healthy, and it also impacts immunity. Foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, red bell peppers, spinach and broccoli, are helpful for increasing the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. The National Institutes of Health’s average daily recommendation for vitamin C for adults is 90mg for men and 75mg for women.

Get Spicy

Spices such as garlic, ginger and turmeric are recognized for decreasing inflammation, which helps the body combat infection. Capsaicin, which is found in chile peppers, has been linked to numerous health benefits. These include increasing the body’s fat-burning mechanisms and increasing healthy gut flora for an improved microbiome, which is another key to overall health.

Optimize Your Gut

Research shows that the health of the gut microbiome also affects overall systemic immunity, as 70-80% of immune cells are present in the gut. That means taking steps to improve your gastronomical tract will help you also improve your wellness. Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria for the gut, can be found naturally occurring in many fermented foods. Adding more of these, such as Greek yogurt, fresh sauerkraut, and kimchi, can keep your tummy happy and your whole body healthy.

Wash Hands for 20 Seconds

Yes, it’s common sense to wash your hands but sometimes we overlook how the simplest actions can have the biggest impact. Thoroughly cleaning hands is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, proper handwashing can prevent 1 in 5 respiratory diseases, such as the cold or flu. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly for twenty seconds. That’s two renditions of “Happy Birthday!”

Exercise & Sleep Regularly

Consistent habits of quality sleep and movement play a role in maintaining a strong immune system, and as we know, overall health. Complementary to exercise, regular sleep is important for helping your body fight off infection and disease. Research reports that sleep can improve immune cells, called T cells, which fight off intracellular pathogens, such as cancer cells.

As we look forward to warmer weather, be sure to remain in optimal health to enjoy it! Follow these simple steps to bolster your immune system and stay well.

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Beacon Hill at Eastgate is a distinctive, not-for-profit retirement community located in Grand Rapids’ desirable Eastgate neighborhood.

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