The immune system is a highly complex network that exists to help defend our bodies against illnesses.
It does this by responding to antigens, substances that provoke an immune response such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and pollen. When an immune response is triggered, the body tries to fight off the antigens by destroying or attempting to destroy them.
Keeping the immune system well-balanced is crucial so that it can recognize and fight threats when they appear while staying regulated enough to switch off ‘fight mode’ when it’s not required.
Making changes to your eating and lifestyle habits can help to balance and strengthen your immune function. Here are some ways you can boost your immune system:
1) Sleep Is Key
Sleep is one of the most vital processes that our bodies undergo and is incredibly important for maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. It is also crucial for the complex network that makes up a healthy immune system.
2) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Before you start chugging down that glass of water, note that being hydrated does not offer protection against viruses or bacteria. However, staying sufficiently hydrated does support your general health and therefore your immune system.
3) Maintain A Healthy DietEating a healthy, varied diet is another way to boost your immune system naturally.
Eat Plenty Of Whole Plant FoodsAdding more whole-foods, particularly plant-based food, can help to give your immune system a much-needed boost.
Research suggests that the gut microbiome might be connected to the immune system and its function.
Try to include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, or drinks such as kefir and kombucha in your diet to increase your probiotic intake and boost immunity.
If fermented foods and drinks aren’t your thing, you might consider taking a probiotic supplement to help give your health a boost.
4) Exercise RegularlyEngaging in moderate exercise on a regular basis is known to have many health benefits, from reducing the risk of diseases to improving bone and muscle strength.
When you engage in physical activity, like a 30-minute jog, your body releases certain types of white blood cells into your bloodstream. They are circulated around your body, trying to detect and destroy pathogens. This does not mean that exercise will immediately cause your body to hunt down germs or viruses, but it could increase your chances of fighting them off.
You should also be cautious not to overdo it. Prolonged, vigorous, high-intensity exercise can weaken your immune response rather than strengthen it.The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week to reap the most benefits. This includes activities such as brisk walking, dancing, or even doing household chores.
Working out from home? Check out these home workouts you can do with no equipment at all.
5) Reduce StressIn recent years we’ve become more and more aware of the impact that stress can have on our health in the long run. Chronic, long-term stress affects your psychological and mental health. It can also have harmful effects on your physical health too, including your immune system.
According to researchers, chronic stress can suppress your immune response. This can prevent you from being able to build a strong, well-balanced immune system and increases your chances of getting sick.
Some activities that may reduce stress levels are meditation, yoga, exercise, and journaling. Getting good quality sleep and keeping in touch with friends and family can also play their part in lowering stress levels. Both your body and your mind will thank you.
6) Support Your Body With Supplements
There is currently no evidence that demonstrates the impact of supplements on immune health. However, they can help to fill gaps left by factors like poor nutrition.
Boost Your Immune System with:
Some of these that may assist in strengthening your immune system include:
Taking these vitamins and minerals in supplement form may be especially useful for those who do not get enough of them from their diets. Before taking a supplement remember to consult your physician for medical advice to check that it is suitable for you. Make sure to look for products that have been third-party lab tested to ensure their safety and efficacy.
Supplements don’t provide a magic cure for preventing viruses or illnesses, so be wary of companies that claim otherwise. This is something to bear in mind especially now in the COVID-19 era as some companies might claim their supplement may aid in the prevention of the disease.
7) Change Your Lifestyle Habits
You can also take steps to support your immunity and prevent infection by making changes in other lifestyle habits. These include:
Wash your hands with warm water and soap.