1. SingingResearch shows that singing is an effective immunity booster — even if you’re off-key.
2. LaughingAccording to a variety of studies, laughter activates protective T-cells and increases antibody production.
3. Stress-bustersStress is Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to your immune system (the cortisol it produces suppresses your immune cells), so anything that lowers your stress levels will help your immune system do its job.
4. ProbioticsThe health of the GI tract plays a big role in bolstering the immune system. Probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso and sourdough bread, all of which contain “good bacteria” that helps your GI tract do its thang.
5. PrebioticsThese soluble fibers — which are found in foods such as bananas, artichokes, onions and leeks — help probiotics work their magic, and therefore help the GI tract, too.
6. Human touchGetting a massage, hugging, holding hands, having sex all lower the body’s immunity-weakening cortisol levels. According to research, getting a 45-minute massage also bolsters pathogen-fighting white blood cells and reduces the inflammatory process, which has been connected to autoimmune diseases. Some experts, in fact, recommend eight hugs a day to take your oxytocin benefits to the max. So get your hug on!
7. MeditationMindfulness meditation positively influences the immune system; according to one study, participants who meditated for eight weeks showed an increased immune response to the flu shot.
8. Solid shut-eyeStudies have found that sleep deprivation lowers your T-cell count, thereby reducing your body’s ability to fight off disease-causing pathogens. If you don’t get eight hours of sleep on a regular basis, start taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene now.
9. Moderate exerciseExercise doesn’t just help your body fight infection: Research shows that it also decreases your risk of getting diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer. Even taking a 20-minute walk every day will strengthen your body’s disease-fighting capabilities
10. Human connectionAccording to research published by the American Psychological Association, social isolation weakens immunity and compromises the body’s ability to fight infection. Social ties such as marriage, on the other hand, strengthen it. Feeling lonely? Seek the company of others — it will strengthen your immune functioning.
11. GreensGreen veggies like bok choy, kale and broccoli give your immune system a leg up by ensuring that immune cells in your gut are functioning properly.