These natural strategies will help you boost immunity to ward off fall illnesses, plus help you feel great right now, too!
Cuts Cortisol: A Stroll Outside
Gentle 20-minute nature walks daily bring a more powerful immunity boost than long, intense workouts, energizing immune cells for up to 12 hours per stroll and cutting your risk of viral illnesses this fall by 60 percent.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine say gentle motion combined with exposure to greenery cuts the adrenal glands’ production of the immunity-sapping stress hormone cortisol by 40 percent. Tip: Stroll when it’s sunny, and Cornell University researchers say the extra vitamin D-3 your skin makes when exposed to sunlight will halve your flu risk.
Locks Out Viruses: Sipping This Tea
When viruses enter your body, they sneak inside cells to hide from your immune system. Fortunately, your cells produce a secret weapon (glutathione) that blocks entry, leaving viruses stranded in your bloodstream, where white blood cells can find and destroy them. And you can boost glutathione production by 134 percent by sipping green tea, say Oklahoma State scientists.
In fact, a research review in the journal Molecules suggests that people who drink two large mugs of green tea daily are 68 percent less likely to become ill, and their symptoms are 32 percent milder if they do.
Lowers Blood Pressure: A Floral Scent
There’s a right-now reason to keep your arteries relaxed and your blood pressure below 120/80: According to a study in JAMA, it helps nutrientrich blood circulate more easily to your lungs and other organs, cutting your risk of COVID-19 complications by 60 percent.
To trim five points off your blood pressure fast, take a 1-minute break to inhale ylang-ylang essential oil whenever your stress level starts to rise. Researchers say its active ingredient (linalool) calms the autonomic nervous system, quickly relaxing tight arteries.
Blocks Viral Spread: Selenium
In a British study, patients battling COVID-19 were three times more likely to have mild symptoms and a speedy recovery if they had a steady trickle of selenium in their diet.
The mineral binds to invading viruses, halting their spread and mutation. Keeping levels topped off, by eating two selenium-rich Brazil nuts daily or taking a multivitamin with 200 mcg. of this mineral, will cut your illness risk as much as 66 percent.
Activates Antiviral Enzymes: Eggs
Eggs are rich in nutrients (lutein, choline, and branched-chain amino acids) your immune system needs to make a steady stream of virus-fighting white blood cells.
Plus, University of Connecticut researchers say those same egg nutrients boost your immune system’s production of a powerful antiviral compound (gamma interferon) by 75 percent. Enjoy two eggs daily, and Canadian scientists say you could cut your risk of illnesses by 62 percent!
Deepens Sleep: A Bedtime Brush
Doctors at Missouri’s St. Luke’s Hospital say sleep is your body’s prime time to stockpile germ-killing antibodies and immune cells, and snoozing for 8 hours nightly can boost your resistance to viruses and bacteria by 50 percent within three days.
Have trouble drifting off? UCLA scientists say gently brushing your hair for 5 minutes before bed stimulates acupressure points in your scalp that prompt the release of the sleep-inducing hormone GABA.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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