3 ways to strengthen your immune system

Take steps to strengthen your immune system so it can withstand virus-causing germs and bacteria.

It's essential to take care of your body all year round. With the arrival of fall, cold and flu season are in full effect. It's important to strengthen your immune system so that it can withstand any virus-causing germs or bacteria that may enter your body.

Here are some small lifestyle changes to give your immune system the power it needs to fight colds and the flu this fall.

Load up on fruits and vegetables

Certain fruits and green veggies come packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help give your immune system the kick it needs to fight off infections. If you're not a fan of the taste, add them to smoothies, salads, and soups. Below are some fruits and vegetables recommended by Medical News Today with properties for improving the immune system:

  • Blueberries—high in vitamin C, contains flavonoids which have a powerful antioxidant effect, and improve heart health, bone strength, skin health, blood pressure, diabetes management, and mental health.
  • Fish—oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and pilchards are rich in omega-three fatty acids.
  • Spinach—contains nutrients and antioxidants like vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and flavonoids.
  • Turmeric—is a yellow spice used for cooking and contains curcumin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Green tea—also contains flavonoids and less caffeine.
  • Dark Chocolate—contains an antioxidant called theobromine, which protects cells from free radicals.

Get more rest

"Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being," says the National Sleep Foundation. However, very few people make it a priority. When you don't get enough sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines. Cytokines are produced and released when you're sleeping and they are "a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation," prompting an immune response.

Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep at night to keep their immune systems healthy and functioning correctly. To improve your overall sleep health, create a schedule that allows you to get to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and your room is dark with little to no noise.

Stay clean

Wash your hands with soap and warm water regularly. Keep a safe distance from people who are sick. Wipe down your work desk and your home with sanitary wipes.

When all else fails, pay a visit to one of your ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers. They are a convenient alternative when you can't get to your primary care doctor. Their staff is ready to help you take steps in strengthening your immune system so that you may stay cold and flu-free this season.

For more information, visit ExpressCare's website at http://www.whywaitintheer.com/.