Your immune system’s job is to defend your body against illnesses. It is made up of cells in your skin, bone marrow, blood organs, and tissues that work together to protect your body against harmful pathogens.
You might need to adopt healthy behaviors in your day to day life to boost your immunity. Various lifestyle and dietary alterations may strengthen your immune cells and help you fight disease-causing organisms and harmful pathogens (bacteria and viruses). Here are five ways to strengthen your immunity. Cover photo by Luke Michael.
Get Enough Sleep
Adequate sleep is a great way to boost your immune system. You may also sleep more than usual anytime you’re sick to allow your immunity to fight the sickness. Your body heals and regenerates when you sleep. A study done on 164 adults showed that those who had less than six-hour sleep every day had a higher chance of catching a cold than those who had a six-hour sleep or more.
Photo: Lechon Kirb
Adults should get a seven-hour sleep or more while teenagers should get eight to ten hours. Infants and younger children should get 14 hours of sleep. If you have insomnia, you can limit your screen time to an hour before bed. Also, avoid stressful or intense conversations or books before bedtime. Another way to avoid insomnia is by sleeping with a mask on or in a very dark room.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Vegetables, seeds, legumes, and nuts are whole plant foods rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They can give a boost to your immune system. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation by fighting unstable compounds, resulting in inflammation when they accumulate in your body at high intensities.
Inflammation is known to cause numerous health conditions like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and certain cancers. Also, a lack of vitamin C increases the likelihood of an infection. You need to get vitamin C from foods like citrus fruits and kiwis to boost your immune.
Ensure you also include proteins in your diet. They contain amino acids, which help in building your immune cells. If you want to maintain a healthy diet, ensure to incorporate mostly plant-based foods. Add fruits and vegetables to your stews and soups, or eat them as snacks.
Moderate exercising includes activities like light hiking, steady bicycling, swimming, and brisk walking. Even though some studies show that intense exercise may subdue your immune system, people who moderately exercise are less susceptible to illnesses.
Regular moderate exercise can also reduce inflammation and help immune cells regenerate regularly. Studies show that moderate exercise can enhance a vaccine’s efficiency in people with low immunity.
Exercise can also increase the release of endorphins (hormones that reduce pain and create relief), which help stress management. Stress negatively impacts your immune system.
Take probiotic supplements and eat fermented foods
While dieting, you can try and incorporate fermented foods. These foods are filled with useful bacteria called probiotics, which inhabit your digestive tract. They include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, natto, and kefir.
Research shows that a thriving gut bacteria system can increase your immune cells’ performance by enabling them to differentiate between harmful organisms and healthy cells. A three-month study showed that in 126 children, kids who drank around 70 ml of fermented milk every day had 20 percent fewer childhood infectious diseases.
If you don’t prefer eating fermented foods, you can take probiotic supplements instead.
Limit the amount of sugar
Extra sugars and refined carbs are one of the biggest contributors to obesity. Obesity increases the risk of getting sick. Studies have found that people with obesity have a higher likelihood of attaining a flu, even after getting a flu vaccine.
Reducing your sugar consumption can reduce inflammation and assist in weight loss, reducing your chances of getting chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases. These diseases can weaken your immune system, and hence limiting sugars is important in boosting your immune system.
Your sugar intake should be less than five percent of your daily calorie intake. This is about two tablespoons of sugar for an average 2,000-calorie diet.
Other important practices to help boost your immune system include managing your stress levels, staying hydrated, supplementing wisely, and eating healthy fats. Examples of healthy fats are those found in olive oil or salmon.
Making several lifestyles and dietary changes are essential in boosting your immune system. You may have to sacrifice a bit of your time and effort, but it’s for the benefit of your health. Avoid unhealthy habits like binge eating, smoking, excessive alcohol, and drug use. You can do this by replacing unhealthy habits with healthy habits like exercising.
Dr. Peter Hinz is a leading chiropractor in Franklin, TN who is committed to providing the highest quality care to his clients. Dr. Hinz advocates for all components of living a healthy life from the inside out. His passion for healthy living and natural care has been shared during time serving the community abroad in Vietnam as well as for the past six years in Franklin, TN.