Cold and flu season is approaching. That means that now is time to build your body’s natural defenses to fight off illness. Strengthening your immunity should be at the top of your priority list.

Here are 11 things you can do to boost your immunity.

  • Exercise. Daily movement has been shown to not only increase energy and keep you strong, but it can also jumpstart your immune system.
  • Get adequate sleep. Resting for 7-9 hours each night helps the cells to repair and restore themselves.
  • Wash your hands often. Using regular soap and warm water, wash hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face with dirty hands.
  • Eat your greens. Leafy green vegetables provide the body with fiber and phytonutrients that feed and energize the cells.
  • Mind your gut. Gut health is directly linked to your overall health. Feed it well with prebiotics and probiotics. Add foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso or kefir to your diet to get your weekly dose.
  • Cut the sugar and processed foods. These foods can starve out good gut bacteria, weakening the immune system.
  • Eat more garlic and onions. These powerhouses are full of anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Add them to your salads are cook them up in your greens, vegetables or protein.
  • Stock up on your supplements. Vitamin D, zinc, vitamin C, magnesium and fish oil all work to boost your immunity.
  • De-stress. Stress can weaken your immune system. Do healthy things to calm your mind and spirit. Meditate, do yoga, take a long walk or practice deep breathing to relax.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. Go easy on the sugary juices and sodas.
  • Keep your space clean and sanitized. Cleanliness is one of the most important tools in your arsenal to combat disease. Disinfect your space, paying close attention to common items like door and faucet handles, light switches and remote controls. And don’t forget to sanitize your cell phone and computer keyboard.
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