Boost Your Immune System with Weight Loss

October 7, 2013

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Boost Immune SystemIt’s almost time to line up for flu shots, and if you’re tipping the scale, even just a little, you should make it a priority to get vaccinated. Why? You may not be imagining it when it seems like people who are in the best shape never get sick.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, found packing on extra pounds may compromise your immune system.

Researchers examined the severity of the flu virus in obese mice and evaluated the effectiveness of antiviral medication. They found obese mice had increased mortality and a more severe case of the flu than mice that were not obese. They also found antiviral medication increased the chance of survival.

Whether you need to lose a few pounds or are satisfied with your weight, it’s time to stock your pantry and gear up for flu season. Follow my tips to boost your immune system today:

Wash your hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing reduces the common cold and other respiratory viruses by 21 percent. Use soap and warm water and scrub the backs of your hands, palms, fingers, and under your nails. To get an idea of how long this process should last, sing happy birthday twice in your head (or out loud if you’re feeling really brave).

Get Vaccinated. I can’t stress this one enough. The CDC recommends everyone at least 6 months of age be vaccinated. People who are morbidly obese, have metabolic disorders, diabetes, or heart disease are at increased risk for complications from the flu, so it’s particularly important these individuals get vaccinated.

Eat a diet high in zinc. Zinc is an essential nutrient that helps your immune cells function. Oysters and other shellfish, lean dark meat, and nuts are excellent sources of zinc. Hit the grocery store to stock up today!

Sleep. Not only is sleep connected to weight gain, but it’s also weakens your immune system. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night to feel your best during the day and keep your immune system strong.

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