5 Ways To Boost Your Natural Immunity This Summer
Having a strong immune system is vital to keeping your body protected from illness and chronic disease. Many people know just how important it is to take care of immunity during flu seasons or the cold winter months, but assume that when the warm weather hits and the sun is shining, they’re invincible from disease. The truth is, though, that summer doesn’t make you a superhero when it comes to immune function. The body needs an immune boost whenever it’s not running as it should, and that can definitely still happen in the summertime.
Does temperature affect immunity?
The effects of cold weather on the immune system have been long speculated. Since people often get sicker during the winter, it’s been easy to assume that cold weather equals worse immunity. The truth isn’t that simple, though. Yes, flu viruses tend to thrive better in cooler temperatures, and recent research has found that temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius can make the body less equipped to fight off a cold – but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from infection in higher temperatures.
Is immunity better in summer?
Studies have shown that the immune system does function better during the summer months; however, it’s not just a winter-versus-summer debate. The way the immune system works is a seasonal all-year-round affair. Certain genes that affect immunity get activated at different points throughout the year, essentially changing with the seasons. Research has found that it has a lot to do with changes in daylight hours as well as temperature. This is why people tend to feel “healthier” in the summer and less so in the winter.
What are common illnesses in summer?
Summer isn’t typically associated with colds or flu; however, these illnesses can still affect you during the warmer season. Since the immune system is tasked with keeping the body healthy, even if it works better in the summer months, you can still fall ill if you don’t take steps to protect yourself. There’s also a chance that a summer cold may linger a lot longer.
Other common illnesses that tend to surge in the summer months include food poisoning, asthma, and Lyme disease. In the case of Lyme disease, immune health is of the utmost importance when it comes to battling the infection; the bacteria can actually alter how well the immune system functions.
How can I boost my immune system in the summer?
Although your natural immunity tends to be better in the summertime, there are still things you should be doing to help give it an added boost. After all, no one wants to be stuck indoors sick during summer.
1. Get good quality sleep
The amount of sleep you get and the state of your immune system are closely linked. The immune system relies on sleep to help it create the essential cells it needs to fight off infection. Research has shown that getting adequate sleep has the ability to strengthen the body’s natural defense system. During summertime, the days are longer and people tend to be more social, which could dig into your shut-eye time. However, for an immune boost, it’s vital to get those 7–9 hours of good-quality sleep.
2. Eat whole foods
Summertime often means a lot of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and the opportunity to buy farm-to-table more easily. So, during the summer months, why not take advantage of seasonal food and eat as nutritiously as possible? Antioxidants found in fresh fruit and vegetables can help to decrease inflammation that can hinder the immune system’s ability to fight infection.
3. Get moving
For many people, it can be hard to get adequate exercise in the winter months because of the cold weather and short days. However, in the summer, it tends to be much easier to get out and about. Getting outside exercise during the summer will help boost your immunity for two reasons: firstly, moderate exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and help immune cells regenerate, and being outside in the sunshine will help you get the vitamin D your body needs to fight off infections properly.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
When the weather is hot, it’s inevitable that people tend to sweat more. However, being dehydrated can hinder your immune system’s ability to function, so it’s vital that you focus more on hydration during summer. Drink as much water as you can to replace what’s lost through sweat.
5. Keep stress to a minimum
Just because it’s warm out and the sun is shining doesn’t mean that you’re free from daily stressors. However, studies have shown that for some, summer might actually be the season that stress is at its highest. Because of this, it’s crucial to learn how to manage your stress as best you can in the summer months, since stress causes inflammation and an imbalance in how immune cells function.
Even if summer is associated with less illness, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do things to help boost your natural immunity. It’s especially important to remember you don’t become automatically immune to pathogens in warmer weather. By boosting your immune system in the summer as well as you do in the winter, you can keep your body protected all year round.