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7 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

One way to get the new year off to a good start is to keep your immune system in top shape–you don’t want sneezes and sniffles slowing you down! Here are seven ways to maintain a healthy immune response.

Eat an Immune-Boosting Diet…

You can never go wrong by loading your plate with richly colored vegetables, including those that are deep green (such as spinach and broccoli) and bright orange (such as carrots and sweet potatoes); the deep blue of blueberries makes them a good fruit choice. To cover your nutritional bases, add a multivitamin/mineral based on whole foods.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Some foods have a special affinity for the immune system.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Take garlic, for example. Packed with various vitamins and nutrients, it also contains the beneficial compounds cysteine and allicin. While garlic is most potent raw, it is still quite effective when its cloves are roasted, giving it a slightly more subtle flavor and soft texture. (It can also be consumed in supplement form.)

Mushrooms should also appear on your immunity menu. And while even plain old button mushrooms provide some immune support, there are species that specialize in it—and are tasty to boot.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

You can sample lion's mane, a shaggy white mushroom with a flavor that has been compared to crab or lobster; maitake, often referred to as "hen of the woods" for its feathery appearance; and shiitake, which can be prepared in a number of delicious ways. (These mushrooms, along with others that aren't so palate friendly, are available in supplement form.)

…Including Yogurt (Or Other Probiotic Sources)...

Did you know that the digestive system contains approximately 70% of the body’s immune cells? Most people don’t.

One way of supporting digestive health is via probiotics, beneficial microbes normally found in a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Plain yogurt is one source, particularly brands that contain live cultures and are relatively low in sugar, as are other fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi; probiotics are also available supplementally.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

…But Skip the Sugar

You probably know that, duh, sugar isn’t good for you. What you may not be aware of, however, is that going on a sugar binge can really trash out your immune system.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Avoiding candy, sweet baked goods and sugary drinks is only part of the solution; the sweet stuff can also hide in such unlikely places as pasta sauce, instant oatmeal and salad dressing. Check the Nutrition Facts boxes on your planned purchases, especially the Added Sugars line.

Exercise Regularly (Outside, When Possible)

Scientists have long known that there’s a link between regular exercise and proper immune function. According to one study, “The practice of physical activities strengthens the immune system, suggesting a benefit in the response to viral communicable diseases.”The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

“As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day,” advises the Mayo Clinic. “If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more.”

Brisk walking allows you to get the exercise you need without stressing your joints too much. Be sure to wear properly fitted shoes; if you can, find cushioned surfaces, such as dirt trails or rubberized tracks, to walk on instead of pavement.

Taking walks can also help you spend more time outside. Try to spend some of that outdoor time in daylight so your skin can soak up the sun to create immune-supporting vitamin D. Taking a supplement can help your body maintain healthy levels of the sunshine vitamin.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Soothe Stress (Being Social Helps)

Stress isn’t good for you in general…and for your immune health in particular. According to the American Psychological Association, “Long-term or chronic stress, through too much wear and tear, can ravage the immune system.”

One way to defuse stress, mediation, may be particularly useful.

“People who meditate regularly may have healthier immune system responses, some studies show,” say the folks at WebMD. “In one experiment, people who meditated over an 8-week period made more antibodies to a flu vaccine than people who didn’t meditate.”The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Loneliness, one common source of stress, can be especially problematic, “perhaps because lonely people have more psychological stress or experience it more intensely and that stress in turn tamps down immunity,” surmises the APA.

On the other hand, “people who feel connected to friends—whether it’s a few close friends or a large group—have stronger immunity than those who feel alone,” according to WebMD.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

That means you should get together with loved ones regularly—they’ll benefit as much as you!

Practice Yoga Consistently (Especially These Poses)

You can help strengthen your immune defenses by unrolling your mat.

“A consistent yoga practice can support and boost the immune system,” says yoga teacher and health care coach Teresa Adele. (“Consistent” means between two and five times a week to start.)The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

In addition to helping relieve stress, yoga also improves circulation, which keeps your body’s microbe-hunting white blood cells on the move and flushes toxins from your tissues.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Poses you should try include Upward Salute, Standing Backbend, Happy Baby, Supported Fish, Downward Facing Dog, Standing Forward Bend, Seated Twist and Legs Up the Wall. If you need help in doing them properly, look for a registered yoga teacher in your area.

Get Enough Sleep…and Enough Water

Sleep deprivation can leave you vulnerable to every virus that comes along.

“Inadequate or poor-quality sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness,” says SaVanna Shoemaker, RDN, LD, writing on Healthline.com.

She notes that in one study, “those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night.”The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Shoemaker also advises staying hydrated. She says that dehydration can “hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function,” which can in turn make you more susceptible to illness.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

How much water is enough?

Shoemaker suggests drinking enough water “to make your urine pale yellow.” She also notes that while younger folks can use thirst as their guide, older people “need to drink regularly even if they do not feel thirsty” because their bodies don’t always signal a need for hydration. (Consider drinking filtered water, which contains significantly fewer impurities and pollutants.)

In addition, atmospheric moisture is an ally in supporting optimal immunity; arid air can dry out mucous membranes, the body’s first line of defense. People who are susceptible to viral illness may want to run a humidifier at night, particularly in cold climates and in desert-like areas such as the Southwest.

The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.

The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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