Now is the perfect time to boost your immune system while adopting new healthy habits.
With everything from hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to groceries being sold out, it’s safe to say that Americans are more concerned about cleanliness and health than ever before.
It’s really important to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting our immune systems right now. Thankfully, there are many ways you can strengthen your immune system that only take a few minutes to do. Best of all, these effective, little tricks can easily turn into lifelong habits.
Here are 10 things you can do to boost your immune system in five minutes or less.
1. Blend up a green smoothie loaded with veggies and fruit.
The foundation of a healthy immune system is a nutritious diet heavy in fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporating more vegetables and fruits into your diet while eliminating processed foods is great for long-term health, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Green smoothies only take a few minutes to make, including prep time, but are an easy way of getting multiple servings of produce in one very tasty and easy-to-drink beverage.
2. Floss, scrape your tongue, brush, and finish with mouthwash.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is about more than just having an attractive smile. Oral health and overall health are connected. By taking care of your oral health, you’ll also be taking care of your whole body, including your immune system.
Kick up your normal brushing routine by first flossing, followed by scraping your tongue and thoroughly brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. Finally, finish with a refreshing minty mouthwash. Be sure to use ADA-recommended dental products.
3. Wipe down the doorknobs in your home and wash your hands.
Doorknobs can harbor a plethora of germs and bacteria. Many people focus so much on disinfecting desks and countertops that they forget about doors and doorknobs. Grab your disinfectant spray or wipes and go to town wiping down all of the doorknobs and door handles in your home.
Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you’re done!
4. Take a probiotic and eat a natural yogurt or drink a glass of kefir.
Your gut health is linked to just about every aspect of your overall health. Healthy gut bacteria even help support the function of mitochondria, which work to protect us from chronic illness like chronic periodontal disease. Having a healthy gut biome is also key for maintaining a strong and properly functioning immune system.
Add a probiotic supplement to your daily regimen. Probiotics are best taken with a small meal, so consider having a cup of yogurt or a glass of kefir to power up your gut health even more.
5. Step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and soak up some sun.
Sunlight often gets an undeserved bad rap. Too much sun isn’t good for the skin, but spending a few minutes standing out in the sun is beneficial for your health. Small doses of sunlight exposure are the best way to get vitamin D naturally, and scientists have found that certain light wavelengths from the sun boost immune cell production.
Be sure to set a timer so you’re not in the sun for too long.
6. Get your heart rate up with five minutes of intense exercise.
Regular exercise is your immune system’s best friend. Getting in 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day is ideal, but it isn’t always realistic. In these cases, short five-minute bursts of activity throughout the day are much easier and add up to big benefits.
Consider trying intense activities, such as jumping jacks, high jumps, mountain climbers, or burpees. You can also find HIIT (high-intensity interval training) videos on Youtube for routines to follow.
7. Stretch your body with a quick yoga session in the morning.
Stretching right after getting out of bed in the morning is a great way to gently wake your body, and yoga is the perfect way to do it. Studies have found that yoga strengthens the immune system and also helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. Hatha yoga is the most useful, but any form of yoga is beneficial.
YouTube is a great source to find quick, five-minute yoga routines designed for morning time or any time.
8. Watch a funny video or a scene from one of your favorite comedies.
The old saying that laughter is the best medicine is actually pretty accurate. Laughing relieves stress, relaxes the body, releases feel-good endorphins, and, yes, boosts your immune system.
Whether you’re already feeling happy or not, take regular breaks from the real world by hopping on YouTube to watch a funny video or play a quick scene from a movie you love. Nothing feels quite as amazing as just five minutes of genuine laughter.
9. Sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and practice deep breathing.
Deep breathing exercises are not only super effective for relieving stress and anxiety, but they also have been shown to improve immune system function. Deep, rhythmic breathing lowers your blood pressure, increases blood flow in your body, and winds down high stress-induced cortisol levels.
You can find deep breathing exercises on meditation apps like Headspace or Calm and for free on YouTube. As you practice these exercises, you’ll soon be able to do them on your own whenever you feel the need to relax.
10. Stay hydrated by cutting up some fruit and making infused water.
Drinking plenty of water is the key to nearly every facet of health, from losing weight to keeping our skin clear of blemishes. Not surprisingly, staying hydrated is also really important for our immune system as well. Drinking water flushes toxins from the body and stimulates your lymph nodes.
A great trick for drinking more water is to make fruit-infused water. Grab a bottle or big glass, add some fruit of your choice (citrus and berries are great), and fill with fresh or sparkling water.
What’s currently going on in the world is a reminder of the importance of our health.
It’s easy to forget how important caring for ourselves is until we’re faced with an unfortunate situation like what’s currently happening in the world. You can keep a positive mindset during this time by being grateful for the reminder and using this downtime to refocus on your physical and mental health. Practice plenty of self-care, eat healthy meals, take care of your body, and when life returns to normal, you can come out even healthier than before.