Your immune system depends a lot on your lifestyle and health choices. Are you doing everything you can to protect your immune system? If the answer is no, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people don’t think about their immune health until they get sick. It is possible to keep your immune system healthy by replacing harmful health behaviors with beneficial ones.
Strengthening Immune Health
Strengthening your immune health involves making lifestyle changes and improving your quality of life. Here are some tips to help boost your immunity.
Eating more plant-based food, healthy fats, fermented foods, and limiting your intake of sugar can help boost your immune system. Whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and legumes are high in antioxidants as well as nutrients, which may help you fight diseases. Antioxidants in these foods aid in the reduction of inflammation by combating unstable chemicals known as free radicals, which can cause inflammation when they build up in high concentrations in the body.
Healthy fats like those found in olive oil and salmon may help your body’s immune response to infections by reducing inflammation.
Fermented foods are high in probiotic microorganisms, which help to keep your digestive tract healthy. According to research, a thriving network of gut bacteria can aid immune cells in distinguishing between normal, healthy cells and hazardous invader organisms. Sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, natto, and kefir are examples of these foods.
According to new studies, added sugars and processed carbs may have a disproportionate role in overweight and obesity. Obesity can also increase your chances of being ill. Sugar restriction can reduce inflammation and promote weight loss, lowering your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (Shoemaker, 2020)
Sleep deprivation or poor quality is connected to an increased risk of illness. Getting enough sleep can help to boost your natural immunity. When you’re unwell, you should also sleep more to assist your immune system in battling the illness more effectively. If you’re having difficulties sleeping, consider restricting your screen usage for an hour before bedtime, as the blue light emitted by your phone, TV, and computer might interfere with your circadian rhythm, or your body’s natural wake-sleep cycles. (Shoemaker, 2020)
According to studies, even a single session of moderate exercise can improve vaccine efficiency in adults with weakened immune systems. Exercise boosts your immune system’s resistance to illness. When we are physically active every day, our bodies perform better. Doctors recommend doing 30 minutes of cardio and strength exercise every day. (Gilmerm, 2020)
Although hydration may not always protect you from germs and viruses, it is crucial to avoid dehydration for your general health. Dehydration can induce headaches and impair your physical performance, focus, temperament, digestion, and heart and renal function, among other things. These issues can make you more susceptible to sickness. (Shoemaker, 2020)
Constant stress, even low-grade stress, leads the body to create too much cortisol, the stress hormone, day in and day out. Cortisol levels rise over time, lowering your resistance to infection and contributing to poor sleep and high blood pressure. Meditation, exercise, writing, yoga, and other mindfulness practices are some of the activities that may help you manage your stress. (Gilmerm, 2020)
Your immunity can take a hit when you are short on sleep, when your stress levels are high, when your diet is unhealthy, or even if you don’t indulge in enough exercise or physical activity. Studies show that being too isolated or losing your sense of humor can also negatively affect your health. Laughing reduces stress hormone levels in the body and increases the production of a type of white blood cell that fights infection. (DerSarkissian, 2021)
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to boosting your immunity. However, by making some lifestyle changes and being mindful of your overall health, you can give your immune system the support it needs to function properly. Give these tips a try and see how they work for you. And remember, if you do get sick, don’t despair—your healthy immune system will fight for you, and eventually defeat the invading pathogen.
Shoemaker, SaVanna. “9 Tips to Strengthen Your Immunity Naturally.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Apr. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health.
Gilmerm. “Strengthen Your Immune System with 4 Simple Strategies.” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 5 Oct. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/strengthen-your-immune-system-with-simple-strategies/.
DerSarkissian, Carol. “Immune System Boosters and Busters.” WebMD, WebMD, 18 June 2021, www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/10-immune-system-busters-boosters#1.