Ways to Boost Your Immune System
One of the most amazing features of the human body is its immune system. According to MedLinePlus, the immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend against germs. It helps your body to recognise "foreign invaders” and either keep them out or find and destroy them. Your immune system works every day to keep your body healthy, so do it a favour and help it out in return. Here are some basic tips and tricks to boost your immune system and ensure you are staying as healthy as possible.
Not meeting your daily sleep requirements can negatively impact your immune system, including increasing your likelihood of getting sick and influencing how fast you recover from sickness. According to the MayoClinic, studies indicate that those who do not get enough high quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Sleep and immunity could be linked because sleep deprivation may decrease antibodies and the production of cytokines, a specialised protein needed during times of sickness of stress.
Experts say that adults need over eight hours of sleep per night, but anything over ten might reduce your sleep quality. If you are unsure that you are getting enough sleep, it might be worth investing in a sleep tracking device that can report how much time you are spending in key sleep stages. Putting a calming night routine in place makes all the difference, too. Opting for relaxing activities such as taking a bath or reading, instead of tuning into the news or social media, can help to ease your mind so that you can drift off to sleep quicker.
Almost everyone knows that staying active is a great way to boost your immune system response, but why? Interestingly, exercise can help circulate your body's antibodies and white blood cells, which may help them detect and target any bugs or viruses faster. Most experts recommend about 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week, and at the very least achieving 150 minutes per week. Set a goal to move every day by building activity into your routine. Try a morning or evening walk or jog, or start an active hobby like cycling or climbing. In times like these, there has also been no shortage of online resources for workouts that you can do in the comforts of your home.
Stress negatively impacts many aspects of your life, including your immune system. Lowering your body’s stress hormones can reduce your chances of getting sick and some studies have even found that an increase in stress can increase your chances of getting the cold. Avoiding stress completely is unrealistic, but implementing daily stress reduction techniques can not only reduce stress but also train you to not have so much in the first place. Gratitude journaling, meditation, and mindfulness practices are common ways to improve stress levels. Removing yourself from negativity and consuming less news or media can also help you achieve your stress reduction goals.
Nutrition and Vitamins
Consuming a nutritious diet with plenty of vitamins is essential to your immune system, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to down gallons of green juice everyday. EatRight recommends incorporating nutritional elements such as protein, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E into your daily diet for an immune system boost. Protein plays a vital role in healing and recovery and can be obtained from a variety of sources like tofu or meat products. Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies and can be found in fruits like citrus and bell peppers while vitamin E works as an antioxidant and can be found in foods like almonds or peanut butter. Also, try to work herbs such as garlic, ginger, oregano, and turmeric into your daily meals to receive their powerful antioxidant benefits.
There is no magic trick that creates a strong immune system, but there are things that can be done to help support its functions. Sleep, activity, stress reduction, and nutrition are a few ways to boost your immune system and set your body up for success. Of course, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to health and you should always talk to your doctor before adapting a new health plan or starting a new supplement. Have you been incorporating any of these health practices into your daily routine?