10 Unusual Tips To Boost Your Immune System

‘How to boost your immunity’ is one of the most searched terms on the internet, given the fact that most of the Southern Hemisphere is heading into winter and recovering from the current health crisis. But instead of just dosing up on vitamin C, eating your greens and wearing warm clothes, there is actually a myriad of lesser-known ways you can boost your immunity.

Let’s have a look at a few:

1. Eat more yogurt

Aside from the buzz around their effect on gut health, fermented foods can also get your immune system buzzing. The process that turns milk into yogurt causes the production of lactic acid bacteria, a substance that researchers have found stimulates immune activity in your body.

2. Watch a scary movie

You know that fright you get when the scary clown jumps out of the dark in a horror movie? Turns out it’s good for your health. When researchers took blood samples from people watching a horror, they found the levels of germ-busting white blood cells increased.

It’s thought that adrenaline released when you’re scared causes your body to go into fight-or-flight mode — and your immune system, which doesn’t know you’re just on the couch, turns on in case you’re injured.

3. Chew your food well

Not only will chewing make it easier for your body to digest the nutrients in your food, but the act of chewing also releases ‘Th17’ immune cells in your mouth. These cells act as one of your body’s first defences against infection, protecting against harmful pathogens.

4. Turn your shower to cold

When researchers in Amsterdam asked people to take cold showers for 30 days they reported a 29 percent drop in how often they got sick. Cold has been shown to increase your white blood cell levels.

The first few times can be a challenge as your body gets used to the cold, so start by just turning your shower to cold for the last five to 15 seconds of your normal shower. And just expose yourself to the water from the neck down — leave your head out.

5. Snack on licorice

Licorice’s main active ingredient, glycyrrhizin, has many effects that are useful for supporting the immune system. One is that it blocks the ACE-2 receptor in the airways that some viruses, including COVID-19, use to enter the cells. Avoid if you have high blood pressure, are pregnant or are breastfeeding, though.

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6. Put down the salt

You already know it’s bad for your blood pressure, but a new German study suggests that too much salt also weakens the immune system by reducing the ability of cells called granulocytes to destroy bacteria. Just one more reason to stay within the recommended 5g a day (that’s about one teaspoon).

7. Eat more mushrooms

While white foods tend to be demonized in the quest for good health, don’t tar them all with the same brush. Natural, unprocessed white foods have many positive attributes. Mushrooms in particular have been shown to support immunity in a number of trials. And you don’t need expensive ones to get results either — in one US trial, just four button mushrooms revved up the activity of natural killer cells that attack viruses.

8. Look on the bright side

It may seem a little tricky right now, but research shows that summoning up positive feelings about the future will trigger a temporary bump in your immunity. It can be as simple as planning some fun things to look forward to or doing just one thing a day to keep your spirits up.

9. Tone down the HIIT

While it has many benefits, too much high-intensity exercise can put your immune system on the back foot. In fact, a Brazilian study found that two days of back-to-back HIIT exercise compromised the immune system, leading researchers to suggest at least one rest day — which can also be low-volume or low-intensity sessions — between workouts.

10. Take care in the AM

Because infection happens when the virus replicates faster than your body can fight it off, you may want to be extra diligent about your hygiene in the morning. Researchers from the UK’s University of Cambridge found viruses multiply 10 times faster in the morning, which means if everything else is equal and you’re exposed to a bug at night or in the morning, it’s more likely to take hold in the morning.

Have you tried any of these methods? Do you have any other unusual methods to boost your immune system? Share them in the comments below.

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