Strengthening the immune system: 25 tips for your defense

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Why should we strengthen the immune system?

An intact immune system reliably fends off colds or the flu. In the cold months, we need three things above all: light, the essential Vitamin D and mood hormones like Serotonin pour out, Moveto get the immune system's immune cells and messengers going. And sufficient Quietto break down the stress hormone cortisol.

With these 25 tips you will strengthen your immune system:

1. Soak up the sun

If the sun's rays hit our skin, it forms vitamin D. This activates our killer cells – cells of our immune system that recognize and kill sick cells. Incidentally, there is also a lot of vitamin D in sardines or salmon. So eat fish more often – its omega-3 fatty acids also inhibit inflammation – and then go outdoors.
Here we have the best fish recipes for you.

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2. Learn serenity

Treat yourself more often a break and try not to stress you too much. Your body will thank you, because fear, depression and chronic stress can cause inflammation and weaken the immune system.

3. Cultivate friendships

The joint visit to the cinema, the double head round, cooking with friends: Make time for friends and family. Their support not only relieves everyday pressure, but also increases your satisfaction and your immune system, studies show.

4. Move, move, move

Regular exercise, especially endurance sports such as running or swimming, activates the killer cells and other helpers in our immune system. Who about jogging several times a week, is less likely to get sick and suffer less if a virus catches him. Sport also helps to reduce stress.

But be careful: not much helps. Those who train too long or too intensely damage their immune systems. If sport becomes a stress factor for our body, we are even more susceptible to infections. Therefore: If you have already caught a virus, you should take a break from sports until you feel better again.

5. Sleep well

The sleep hormone cortisol, which slows down the immune system, only circulates in the body to a reduced extent. We also release growth hormones at night, which are also used for wound healing. So try at least seven hours of sleep to get. Here you will find our best tips against insomnia.

6. Train heat regulation

Regular saunas keep the cardiovascular system fit and strengthen the immune system. By the Alternating between hot and cold, the body learns to bleed more or less through the mucous membranes: In the heat, the vessels widen, in the cold they contract. This allows the body to adjust better to unusual temperatures.

7. Eat seasonally

Rhubarb in spring, berries in summer, apples and carrots in autumn, cabbage in winter: Align your diet as possible to the seasons and eat local fruits and vegetables. So you get fresh, healthy goods, save money and also do something for the environment. With the BRIGITTE.de season calendar you can get an overview quickly and easily.
Here are our best autumn and winter recipes for connoisseurs.

8. Air frequently

The humid the air, the faster sneezing droplets of mucus and saliva absorb water and sink to the bottom due to its weight. They are safe there. The moisture is also good for the nasal mucosa. In addition, air from outside naturally contains fewer viruses. The Robert Koch Institute recommends Fresh air supply at least ten minutes three to four times a day, preferably with a push ventilation.

Read too

Ventilate properly in winter: that's what matters!

9. Get on the bike protected

Cold in itself is not a reason for a cold. So you'd better get on a bike instead of taking the bus and train – because among many people you are much more likely to catch an infection. However, you should protect yourself while cycling. Wears a (windproof) jacket and tie a scarf to your mouth and noseso that you don’t breathe cold air. The reason: at low temperatures, the vessels of the airways contract and the immune system's defense cells no longer reach their location as quickly – the cold viruses can multiply unhindered accordingly.

10. Wash away viruses

Anything that flushes away pathogens that have just reached the nasopharynx area reduces their chances of survival. Next Nasal irrigation also make hot drinks, soups and spicy food make your nose run. For example, we have a very effective recipe for chicken soup for you.

11. Fly safely

It is often too cold on a plane because of the ventilation technology. That's why you should always have one take a thick sweater on board – and drink a lot. Because the air from the air conditioning dries out the mucous membranes, cold viruses can attack us more easily.

12. Eat a balanced diet

70 percent of our immune cells collect in the intestine. A varied diet keeps him healthy. Eat lots of different fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

Read too

No time for nothing? With our tips you still eat healthy!

13. Do not spend the night in the Ice Palace

Yes, fresh air is good and it shouldn't be too warm, especially in the bedroom. However, an icy bedroom is not suitable for hardening. Sleeping cool is okay, but less than 18 degrees are stress for the body.

14. Stay away from your face

We think, talk on the phone, dream – and often unconsciously touch our eyes or nose. We face each other on average every four minutes! Those who manage to reduce this also reduce the possibility of viruses being attacked.

15. Be good to yourself

Negative loads permanently raise our cortisol levels and thus weaken our immune system. Avoid So the usual stress companions and illnesses like alcohol, smoking, lack of sleep and bad food.

16. Bath feet

They are great for at home: hot and cold foot baths get your circulation going. To do this, place two water vessels side by side, one with cold and one with with about 38 degrees warm water that extends to the middle of the calf. Put your feet in warm water for about three minutes and then in cold water for up to 20 seconds. Repeat this three times. Always end the foot bath with cold water.

17. Wash your hands

According to research, those who wash their hands thoroughly five times a day are only half as likely to catch a cold. Please note: Rub the soap between your fingers for 20 to 30 seconds, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Make it routine for you to always wash your hands when you arrive at home or in the office.

18. Kiss more often

Our immune system is designed for learning. The more pathogens it has to fight, the better weapons it develops – at least as long as a certain level is not exceeded. Therefore, it does not harm children to come into contact with dirt. And for the same reason, kissing should also be healthy: Because the partner's germs train the body's defenses.

19. Spoon porridge

Break your breakfast habits more often: Warm breakfast porridge out Oats, wheat or millet are good for you in the morning, because heating makes grit and grain easier to digest. According to Ayurvedic teaching, our "Agni" – the digestive fire – runs on a low flame in the morning. And is quickly overwhelmed when we serve him bread, sausage, cheese and possibly an egg. Western nutrition experts are now also recommending breakfast porridge with warm grains and flakes because it provides us with everything: with protein, fat, carbohydrates, B vitamins, fiber and minerals.
We have even more delicious ideas for a healthy breakfast for you.

20. Dress flexibly

We often notice changes in the weather too late – in the morning we leave the house too thick or too thin. So that the wrong choice of clothes doesn't end in a cold, you should If possible, wear several layers of clothing on top of each other. With this "onion look" you are well armed in the cool months. Because when you freeze, the immune system's defense cells no longer get to their place of use as quickly – the faster cold viruses can multiply.

21. Relax your mind and body

Everyone has their own method of relieving everyday pressure. In addition to regular exercise and adequate sleep, there is evidence that inner peace and well-being are helpful Relaxation methods such as yoga exercises, autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation. Meditation, Tai Chi or Qigong exercises are also helpful. Corresponding courses are now available across Germany.

22. Let off steam

Even if you try so hard, anger and grief cannot always be avoided. Don't stay passive. Skin on the table, stamps angrily: Those who let off steam stimulate the activation of T cells – these are the defense specialists. If you like it quieter: Talk to a familiar person about your needs. Or keep a diary, which has a similar effect.

23. Laugh more

The mental state influences the state of the body's defenses through our nervous and hormone systems. We are particularly susceptible to infections when we are concerned. Conversely, the defense works well, when we are comfortable or just in love. But small pleasures also stimulate our immune system. Experiments have shown that laughter increases the level of immunoglobulin in the blood. So then: watch comedies, go to the cabaret or do some nonsense yourself.

24. Try natural remedies

If you have already caught the cold, you can also take natural remedies. Extracts of African geranium (umckaloabo) or echinacea preparations (red coneflower) can activate certain defense cells. Although this is not clearly scientifically proven, many study results indicate their effectiveness.

25. Collect vitamins

Consume enough vitamins through fruits and vegetables. It pays off:

  • The classic vitamin C. catches the free radicals – aggressive oxygen particles that damage our cells. It cannot prevent a cold, but it can reduce the duration of the infection and the symptoms.
  • Vitamin A keeps the surfaces of the mucous membranes moist and thereby strengthens their resistance. That is why this vitamin plays an important role, especially in diseases whose cause penetrate through the mucous membrane.
  • Vitamin B6 activates the immune cells and stimulates the production of messenger substances in the immune system. – Vitamin E protects against free radicals and promotes the growth and maturation of the immune cells. The trace elements zinc, iron, selenium and copper also have a positive effect on the activity of the immune system.