There are countless products out there that claim to make you healthier, some going as far as promising to raise your immune system so you don't catch that common cold or flu circulating around the office.
But beware of over-the-counter products containing vitamin C and echinacea that claim to prevent a cold or reduce how long a cold lasts. These products have not been proven to do anything for the immune system, said Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist and FOX News Channel contributor.
“They are myths,” Siegel said.
So the next time you feel a cold coming on, instead of popping pills that may not do you any good, Siegel recommends these five ways to boost your immune system:
1. Get some shut-eye. “Sleep boosts the immune system,” Siegel said. “A lack of sleep increases the stress hormones that break down the immune system.”
2. Break out the sweats. “Exercise increases hormones that promote immune function,” Siegel said. “Stress worsens immune function, so any anti-stressing strategies you can do, will help.”
3. Pucker up. “Touch therapy has been proven to strengthen the immune system,” Siegel said. It can be as simple as hugging or kissing a loved one, or even going to the spa for a well-deserved massage.
4. Download some music. Siegel said a study involving the effects of music therapy on a pregnant woman’s immune system was recently conducted, since pregnancy is often a period of immune deficiency.
“It improved the outcomes of pregnancy,” Siegel said.
5. Eat more fruits and veggies. “Obese people are less likely to fight off infection,” Siegel said. “So, you should aim for your ideal body weight and eat a diet full of minerals, vitamins and protein. This includes vegetables and fruit.”