5 Ways to Boost and Strengthen Your Immune System
Your immune system is one of the most important parts of your body. It’s a system of organs that fights viruses and bacteria to keep you healthy. Although getting sick isn’t always preventable, there are ways to help strengthen your immune system and improve your chances or warding off illness and infection.
These methods require minor lifestyle changes that will ultimately benefit your overall health. This means you will not only be taking care of your immune system, but also improving other aspects of your bodily health as well.
Here are five things you can do to give your immune system a boost.
1. Eat A Healthy Diet
The key to living a healthy lifestyle starts with what you put into your body. It’s especially important to eat well because 80 percent of the immune system is in the gut, making food one of the most crucial factors to focus on.
To obtain good immune health, make sure to consume lots of plant-based foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Dietary guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says your plate should look like a rainbow. This includes leafy greens, bright fruits and hearty vegetables.
Eating a healthy diet will ensure you’re getting proper vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E are essential nutrients that can keep your immune system healthy and fight infection. Eating healthy greatly benefits your health and gives your body the power it needs to protect it.
2. Get Quality Sleep Each Night
There are a lot of benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. It can help you be more productive, reduce stress, and help you eat fewer calories throughout the day. It can also improve your immune function.
Those who get more sleep are found to be less likely to get sick. For example, people who sleep less than seven hours each night are three times more likely to develop a cold.
Sleep also gives your body the much needed rest it needs to function properly. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body does everything it can to give you energy. This can suppress your immune system when you’re sleep deprived and make you more vulnerable to illness.
3. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption And Smoking Habits
The consequences of drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking every day shouldn’t come as a surprise. Both affect the body in different ways that puts your immune system at risk.
When you consume alcohol, your body turns its focus on detoxifying your system instead of normalizing your immune system. Cigarettes compromise your immune system with toxic chemicals directly flowing into your lungs.
If you drink and smoke regularly, you should make a lifestyle change and quit. Limiting your alcohol intake to one drink a few times a week is a safe number to consume. As for smoking, you should quit that altogether. It can be a difficult habit to kick, but you will ultimately be doing what’s best for your short- and long-term health.
4. Try To Lower Your Stress Levels
There are a lot of factors that can make your life stressful. It’s also easier said than done to lower your stress levels. But it’s worth trying, since this also plays a role in strengthening your immune system.
When you’re stressed, your body releases high levels of cortisol that prevents your immune system from protecting your health. Reducing your stress can allow your immune system from functioning properly, rather than focusing on the impact stress has on your body.
Find a de-stressing technique that works for you. You can try downloading apps on your phone, such as Headspace or Calm, to guide you through a meditation. Exercise is another natural way to lower your stress levels and feel more at ease throughout the day.
5. Get Regular Exercise
The benefits to regular exercise are endless — you can maintain a healthy body weight, ease stress levels, keep your body strong and lots more. It can also help boost your immune system.
People who live an active lifestyle are less likely to get sick compared to those who don’t. Exercise allows antibodies and white blood cells to circulate faster. This makes your immune system more proactive in fighting off viruses.
Try and get at least half an hour of activity every day. Whether it be a walk around the block, an exercise class or playing a sport, getting on your feet can help give your immune system the boost it needs to fight illness.
Boosting Your Immune System Is Important
Living a healthy lifestyle is the key to boosting your immune system. When you take care of your immune system, you’re giving your body the strength it needs to fight infection and illness.
These lifestyle changes can ultimately work together in improving your life. For example, exercise and lead to a better sleep and ease stress. Alternatively, eating healthy can give you the necessary energy for exercise and regulation it needs to sleep. Think of it as the circle of health, with benefits all around.
Even if you do get sick, doing everything you can to help your immune system might make the healing process faster and easier. Talk to your doctor about more ways you can safely help your immune system function if you want to learn more.