Last edited: 5/26/2020
Your immune system is the gateway to your health, which means you’ve probably spent most of your life looking for ways to support it. There are certainly a lot of “immune-support” remedies out there, but have you ever wondered if they actually work? We researched the most popular remedies to find out if they are fact or fiction. You may be surprised by what we found!
1. A glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice is the best way to get Vitamin C.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice contains plenty of Vitamin C, but it’s also packed with sugar. It’s certainly a good place to start, but there are better options.
As you know, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help support your immune system. However, instead of reaching for the nearest citrus fruit or juice, grab a red bell pepper. They contain nearly 2x the amount of Vitamin C compared to an orange.
2. Washing your hands regularly will help support a healthy immune system.
This one may be a bit more obvious, but it’s really important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Research shows that having clean hands is one of the best ways to help support a healthy immune system. Just be mindful of the type of soap you’re using.
Dr. Stewart Levy, a microbiologist at Tufts University, believes the overuse of antibacterial soap is a cause of “superbugs” (bacteria that are extremely resistant to antibiotics). He suggests hot water and regular soap work best with about 20 seconds of scrubbing.
3. Sleeping with half an onion at your bedside can help support your immune health.
It’s an odd belief that’s been passed down through the ages and even across different cultures.
Other suggestions include hanging onions in a room or placing cut onions on plates throughout the house. Many people have faith in their ability to act as tiny vacuums that clean your air.
But germs are spread through contact (or when moisture is quickly expelled via a sneeze or cough), so leaving onions around your house won’t help.
4. A bowl of chicken noodle soup is more than just magic when it comes to supporting your natural defenses.
Chicken noodle soup made our curated list of Top 5 Immune Supporting Foods. It provides a wide array of nutrients in a single dish, plus the steam helps with decongestion.
It’s an old standby you should keep standing by.
5. You should add zinc to your diet.
Zinc can help support a healthy immune response. There are certainly options for supplements, but the best place to start is with food. Perhaps unsurprisingly, chicken is a good source of zinc. Add another point for chicken noodle soup!
6. You need to drink plenty of clear soda when you’re feeling under the weather.
Is it a great idea? No.
Does it work? Maybe. It really depends on you.
Two things are going on.
- You’re hydrating yourself—which is always important for a healthy lifestyle.
- Your parents made you drink it.
The second point is important because of the placebo effect. If you’ve been drinking it since you were young, you probably believe it’s going to make you better even though it might not be what’s really helping.
Regardless of the type of soda you drink, there’s far too much sugar, which oftentimes isn’t helpful when it comes to helping to support your health. You’re better off drinking water with a pinch of high-quality salt to help replace your electrolytes.
7. You should stay in bed. All day.
When you’re under the weather, you’re not doing anyone any favors by going in to work or going about your daily routine.
Rest helps your immune system get to work. Better yet, lying down makes it easier for your blood to circulate to your entire body since it doesn’t have to fight gravity.
However, it’s still a good idea to get up and walk every now and then to keep your blood moving.
8. Exercising can help.
Yes, but there is an “if”.
It can help in some cases, but you want to make sure you don’t overdo it. Exercising puts stress on your body. If you’re trying to build muscle or increase your cardio ability, it’s good. It’s not so good when you’re not feeling well though.
Your best choices are:
- Low-intensity bike riding
In other words, don’t go to your spin class or get a CrossFit workout in. Your body doesn’t need more stress, not to mention, gyms and workout facilities can leave you more exposed to germs.
If your body is running hotter than normal, you should consider avoiding exercising altogether. Just rest.
So, there you have it!
When it comes to your immune system, there are plenty of remedies that promise extra support. Ultimately, the best way to support your immune system is to take a holistic approach to health and wellness. By eating right, exercising often, being mindful, and taking the necessary steps to address underlying issues, you’ll be on your way to a healthier you.