How you can boost your immune system to stay as healthy as possible

Staying healthy throughout the year can be tricky when multiple infectious diseases can end up lowering your productivity, keep you bed-ridden, and even lead to more serious healthcare issues.

Most people believe that keeping your immune system active and as healthy as possible is only important during the fall and winter. This is because these seasons are the peak of flu season, which causes more individuals to focus on immunity.

But building a healthy immune system just during peak flu seasons may limit your body’s potential to fight off infections. Seasonal illnesses can arise during the spring and summer, which can create significant discomfort throughout the year.

However, there are a lot of myths about how individuals can effectively improve their immune system. Myths including types of food to eat, treatment options, and other misinformation on the internet may promote behaviors that don’t actually boost immune system performance.

So what are some of the medically-proven ways that you can boost your immune system and also your daily energy levels?

A healthy lifestyle is likely your best method for improving immune system performance

healthy lifestyle concept with fruits and vegetables

For the most part, making proactive lifestyle and health-related wellness changes is extremely effective for improving your immune system.

Harvard Medical School broke down the key factors that affect a person’s immune system and identified the most impactful factors on immune system performance:

  • Cutting back or quitting smoking/tobacco use
  • A diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Daily or frequent exercise
  • Moderate to low alcohol consumption
  • Minimize stress and get plenty of sleep
  • Avoid infection with strong personal hygiene

Basically, living a healthy lifestyle each day helps your body stay alert and ready for any possible infection. Individuals that want to see improved immune system performance should make sure to incorporate a more active lifestyle with lower risk factors.

Some uncontrollable factors that lead to a weakened immune system include chronic diseases as well as age. But it is important to understand that even older adults with chronic conditions can benefit from a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Scientists have also not been able to effectively link any connection between boosted immunity and herbal supplements seen in pharmacies or grocery stores. Make sure to understand that relying on herbal products or other “immune-boosting” products may not actually help improve immunity to diseases.

There are a few proven “superfoods” that are linked to increased immune system performance

bowl of spinach on table

There are a lot of articles out there on how individuals can boost their immune system by eating “superfoods.” But there are some food groups out there that help increase both energy level and immune system performance.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are at least ten types of foods that either increase the effectiveness of one’s immune system and/or improve energy level. These foods include:

  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Red Beans
  • Salmon

In addition, supplements and food groups with Vitamin A help improve one’s immunity to infectious diseases. Most medical professionals may recommend children with measles to take Vitamin A supplements to assist with treatment.

However, over-consumption of Vitamin A can lead to other health problems so make sure you consume it in moderation. A healthy and balanced diet will provide most people with their daily recommended intake.

Get your annual flu shot as well as other types of vaccinations for travel

elderly woman getting flu shot

Ultimately, boosting your immune system starts with getting a vaccine for infectious diseases.

Leading medical experts will tell you that a vaccine is the most effective way to prevent an infectious disease. Vaccinations work by using a weakened strain of a virus to “teach” your immune system to defend against the virus. A vaccine cannot get the patient sick with the targeted virus/disease.

Most children will need booster shots and other types of vaccines when they are younger and during adolescence. These vaccines help protect against many dangerous infectious diseases including measles, mumps, and rubella.

However, both children and adults will likely need updated vaccinations for diseases such as the flu. The influenza strain updates annually and requires a new vaccine each year.

A flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the influenza virus and should be administered ASAP.

Additionally, both children and adults traveling internationally may need updated travel vaccinations. Some foreign countries may experience outbreaks of infectious diseases that aren’t common in the U.S. The good news is that most urgent care centers provide travel vaccinations at low costs.

International travelers should schedule any updated travel vaccinations at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to their travel date.

If you need either an updated vaccination, health and wellness recommendations, or cold and flu symptom treatment, then make sure to visit one of our AFC Denver locations!

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