After over a year spent avoiding illness, it can be difficult to venture out into a germ-infested world again. While we can take external precautions like wearing a mask or carrying hand sanitizer, the quest to protect ourselves from illness should start inside. By utilizing these surprising ways to boost your immune system, you can keep disease at bay even as the world reopens.
Take a Cold Shower
For many of us, the day doesn’t begin until we’ve taken a hot, steamy shower. However, turning down the temperature on our morning washes provides numerous immune system benefits. Taking a cold shower can help increase your body’s white blood cell count as well as improve oxidation and reduce inflammation. This is even true of cold showers that last a minute or less.
Visit the Sauna
You can still improve your immune system if you don’t like the cold, though. A trip to the sauna a few days a week can boost white blood cells, including monocytes, which help remove damaged tissues and cancer cells. Sweating in the sauna also helps detoxify the body, allowing it to rid itself of chemicals that may suppress immune system functions.
Get a Chiropractic Treatment
We tend to think of visiting a chiropractor as a means to improve lower back pain. However, realigning your spine does more than this. Your spine is the main avenue of your nervous system, and your nervous system interacts with your immune system. When your back’s out of alignment, your immune system’s functions get disrupted. Popping the spine into place helps get your immune system back on track.
Do a Hobby
When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone known as cortisol. This hormone helps your body survive life-or-death situations by suppressing functions that aren’t essential to escaping immediate danger. That includes your immune system. A surprising way to boost your immune system is to reduce cortisol—take it easy and do something fun, like your favorite hobby.
If there’s one thing that this past year has taught us, it’s that isolation breeds anxiety. And that does our immune system no favors. But the immune-boosting benefits of socialization don’t end with simply helping us destress. Some theorize that socializing with a wide range of people can also decrease your risk of becoming ill.
As we prepare to venture into the world again, we want to keep ourselves from getting sick. The best way to do it is to prepare our body’s natural defenses to meet the challenges of a germ-filled world.