No one likes getting sick, especially during the holidays. However, this is the time of year, people are much more likely to come down with a cold or flu. With the risk of illness so great, you should make sure your immune system is functioning at the highest level possible. Your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Lock, knows that oral health is tied closely with overall health, so he wants to give you some suggestions for boosting your immune system during the winter months.

Get Out and Exercise

The benefits of exercise are well documented. But don’t think that by working out you are only promoting your long-term health. Studies have shown that exercise can quickly make your immune system stronger. Spending only 20 minutes vigorously exercising three days a week has been shown to boost the immune system. Exercise also raises the level of leukocytes, an important component of your immune system. In addition, exercise releases endorphins, which boost mood and help in sleeping, both of which are important to ensure a healthy immune system.

Make Sure You Sleep

Forgoing sleep is a year-round temptation, but as anyone who has struggled through a day after a restless night can tell you, it’s never a good idea. Scientists have yet to determine what makes sleep so important to our bodies, but there is no doubt that sufficient sleep is vital. Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to a weakened immune system. One study proved that vaccines are only half as effective when given to someone sleep-deprived, while others show that a stress hormone rises as the amount of sleep declines. No matter how busy you are, you should try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.

Eat Foods With Antioxidants

It’s long been known that eating or drinking foods and beverages rich in vitamin C is a good way to boost your immune system. Science has confirmed that vitamin C and vitamin E, along with zinc and beta carotene, cannot only improve your immune system, but also provide long-term protection against cancer and heart disease. The best way to get enough antioxidants is by eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Relax and Have Fun

People who are under a lot of stress have sharply compromised immune systems. While stress is a part of life, learning how to relax can help make you healthier in the long run. Try yoga, exercise, or listening to classical music.

See Your Waco Dentist For a Complete Checkup

Don’t neglect your oral hygiene this holiday season. By keeping your mouth clean and healthy, you can give your immune system one less thing to worry about. If you’re overdue for your regular checkup, schedule an appointment by calling our Waco dentist office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, the 76712 zip code, and surrounding communities.