Strengthen the immune system: 25 tips for a better defense


No more runny nose and throat irritation! Click on the video and see the best tips with which you can strengthen your immune system and get through the cold months healthily!

Why should we strengthen the immune system?

An intact immune system reliably fends off colds or the fluIn the cold months, we need three things above all: light to release the vital vitamin D and mood hormones such as serotoninexercise to get the immune system's defense cells and messenger substances on their toes. And enough rest to break down the stress hormone cortisol.

With these 25 tips you can strengthen your immune system:

1. Soak up the sun

When the sun's rays hit our skin, they form vitamin D. This activates our killer cells - cells in our immune system that recognize and kill sick cells. Incidentally, sardines and salmon are particularly rich in vitamin D. So eat fish more often - its omega-3 fatty acids also inhibit inflammation - and then go out into the fresh air.
Here we have the best fish recipes for you.

2. Learn serenity

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

3. Cultivate friendships

Going to the cinema together, doing a double-headed round, cooking with friends: take time out for friends and familyTheir support not only reduces 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 of our immune system. Those who jog several times a week are less likely to get sick and suffer less if a virus does catch them. Exercise also helps reduce stress.

But be careful: a lot doesn't help much. Those who exercise too long or too intensely damage their immune system. If sport becomes a stress factor for our body, we are even more prone to infections. Therefore, if you have already caught a virus, you should take a break from exercising until you feel better.

5. Get enough sleep

During sleep, the stress hormone cortisol, which slows down the immune defense, only circulates in a reduced amount in the body. Also, we release growth hormones at night, which are also needed for wound healing. So try to get at least seven hours of sleepHere are our top tips for fighting insomnia.

6. Train thermoregulation

Regular saunas keep the cardiovascular system fit and strengthen the immune system. By alternating between hot and cold, the body learns to bleed through the mucous membranes to a greater or lesser extent: the vessels expand when it is hot, and contract when it is cold. In this way, the body can better adjust to unfamiliar temperatures.

7. Eat seasonally

Rhubarb in spring, berries in summer, apples, and carrots in autumn, cabbage in winter: if possible, adjust your diet to the seasons and eat local fruit and vegetables. So you get fresh, healthy goods, save money, and do something for the environment on top of that. 
Here are our best autumn recipes and winter recipes for connoisseurs.

8. Ventilate frequently

The more humid the air, the faster the exhaled droplets of mucus and saliva absorb water and sink to the ground due to its weight. There they are harmless. The moisture is also good for the nasal mucosa. Also, the air from outside naturally contains far fewer viruses. The Robert Koch Institute recommends a supply of fresh air for at least ten minutes three to four times a day, preferably with intermittent ventilation.

9. Get on your bike protected

Cold in itself is not a cause for a cold. So get on your bike instead of taking the bus and train - because between many people you are much more likely to contract an infection. However, you should protect yourself when cycling. Wear a jacket (as windproof as possible) and tie a scarf over your mouth and nose so that you do not inhale cold air. The reason: At low temperatures, the vessels in the respiratory tract contract, and the immune system's defense cells can no longer get to where they are needed so quickly - the cold viruses can multiply accordingly without hindrance.

10. Wash away viruses

Everything that washes away pathogens that have just reached the nasopharynx reduces their chances of survival. In addition to nasal rinses, hot drinks, soups, and spicy foods also get the nose working. For example, we have a very effective recipe for chicken soup for you.

11. Fly safely

Often it is too cold in the aircraft because of the ventilation technology. That's why you should always take a thick sweater with you onboard - and drink a lot. Because the air from the air conditioning dries out the mucous membranes, so cold viruses can attack us more easily.

12. Eat a balanced diet

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

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 good for toughening up. Sleeping cool is okay, but less than 18 degrees is stress for the body.

14. Stay away from your face

We think about it, talk on the phone, dream - and often unconsciously grab our eyes or nose. Every four minutes on average, we touch our faces! Anyone who manages to reduce this also reduces the virus' potential for attack.

15. Be good to yourself

Negative stress causes our cortisol level to rise permanently and thus weaken our immune system. Avoid the usual stressful companions and pathogens such as alcohol, smoking, lack of sleep, and bad food.

16. Bathing your feet

Ideal for at home: hot and cold foot baths get your circulation going. Place two water vessels next to each other, one with cold and one with around 38 degrees warm water that reaches to the middle of the calfPut your feet in warm water for around three minutes and then in cold water for up to 20 seconds. Repeat this three times. Always finish the foot bath with cold water.

17. Wash your hands

Research has shown that anyone who washes their hands thoroughly five times a day only catches a cold half as often. Please note: rub the soap between your fingers for 20 to 30 seconds, then rinse off carefully and dry off. Make it a routine to wash your hands every time you arrive at home or at the office.

18. Kiss more often

Our immune system is designed to learn. The more pathogens it has to fight, the better weapons it develops - at least as long as a certain level is not exceeded. That is why 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 immune system.

19. Spoon the porridge

Breakthrough your breakfast habits more often: Warm breakfast porridge made from oats, wheat, or millet is especially good in the morning because heating makes meal and grain easier to digest. According to Ayurvedic teaching, our "Agni" - the digestive fire - runs on the back burner in the morning. And then he is quickly overwhelmed when we serve him bread, sausage, cheese, and possibly an egg. In the meantime, western nutrition experts also recommend breakfast porridge with warm grain and flake food, because it provides us with everything: 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 - go out of the house too fat or too thinly dressed in the morning. So that the wrong choice of clothes does not end in a cold, you should wear several layers of clothing if possible. With this "onion look," you are well prepared in the cooler months. Because when you freeze, the immune system's defense cells no longer get to their place of action as quickly - the faster cold viruses can multiply.

21. Relax the mind and body

Everyone has their own method of relieving the pressure of everyday life. In addition to regular exercise and sufficient sleep, relaxation methods such as yoga exercises, autogenic training, or progressive muscle relaxation are proven to be helpful for inner peace and well-beingMeditation, tai chi or qigong exercises are also helpful. Corresponding courses are now available throughout Germany.

22. Let off steam

No matter how hard you try, anger and grief cannot always be avoided. Do not remain passive. The 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 someone you know 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 via our nervous and hormonal systems. We are particularly susceptible to infections when we are worried. Conversely, the defense works well when we feel good or are freshly in loveBut also small pleasures stimulate our immune system. Experiments have shown that laughter increases the level of immunoglobulin in the blood. So then: watch comedies, go to cabaret or do nonsense yourself.

24. Try natural remedies

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

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