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Boosting your immunity naturally

The weather will be changing soon, so how does one keep their immunity up?

Here are a few tips:

Get enough sleep. Inadequate or poor sleep quality is linked to higher susceptibility to sickness. According to the National Institutes of Health, a study of 164 healthy adults found that those who slept fewer than six hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept six hours or more each night.

Adults should aim to get seven or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need eight to 10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.

Eat more whole plant foods. Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.

The antioxidants in those foods help decrease inflammation by combatting unstable compounds called free radicals, which can cause inflammation and build up in your body in high levels.

Fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, or the community of healthy bacteria, in your gut. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immunity and keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract.

Eat more healthy fats. Healthy fats like olive oil and omega-3s are highly anti-inflammatory. Since chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, these fats may naturally combat illnesses.

Eat more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and natto, are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics.

In a three month study in 126 children, those who drank just 2.4 ounces (70 ml) of fermented milk daily had about 20 percent fewer childhood infectious diseases compared with a control group.

If you don’t eat fermented foods, then a probiotic supplement is another option.

Limit added sugars. Added sugars contribute significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, all of which can suppress your immune system. Lowering your sugar intake may decrease inflammation and your risk of these conditions.

Engage in moderate exercise. Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells. Jogging, biking, walking, swimming and hiking are great options.