Imagine tiny soldiers attacking a city from all sides. The city has also taken its defense measures with a resistance system in place. Will the enemy be able to break through? Not likely if the resistance is strong enough.
The same applies to your body as well. It’s the city and the enemies are harmful microbes, pushing their way in. If your immunity, which is your defense mechanism, is strong you have nothing to fear. If not, then diseases and viruses visit you often.
A strong immune system protects the body. Researchers are still learning more about this system and its links. It can be said that immunity shares a direct link with one’s health and lifestyle. Simple changes in these two can actually better or worsen your immunity.
Since no one is a fan of a weak immune system, below is a list of ways you can boost your immunity.
1. Sleep well
Sleep deprivation can lower immune function. The link between these two is a complex one. The immune system is made out of several different proteins and cells. When we struggle with sleep loss our T-cells go down and inflammatory cytokines rise.
Lack of sleep reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses. This equals to more sick days. This does not only apply in the cases of colds and flus. Rather, those who are sleep deprived are also more likely to die sooner because of the body’s inability to properly fight off a disease.
With better sleep, the mortality rate goes up. This is why, it is necessary to sleep on proper timings. If you are unable to get an adequate amount of shuteye time due to insomnia or any other underlying concern, don’t delay your doctor’s appointment and take medication for sleeping better.
2. Don’t stress
Noticed how after a particularly stressful happening, you tend to get sick? That is not a mere coincidence. In fact, this happens because your brain and immune system are connected which leads to physical symptoms.
Not all types of stresses are bad. But chronic stress is supremely harmful, in more ways than one. That’s because prolonged stress results in the overproduction of cortisol. Cortisol lowers the amount of proteins that signal immune cells and, in turn, reduces the amount of immune cells as well.
This translates to a weakened immune system, which is an open invitation to illnesses. Loads of cortisol as not needed can cause chronic stress and can result in chronic inflammation as well. When the body is unable to ward off inflammation, the defense system is further weakened. This is why it is essential to nip the evil in the bud.
3. Exercise regularly
While research has not exactly proven the link between exercise and the body’s immunity, it is said that physical movement can stimulate immunity. Working out eliminates bacteria from the airways and the lungs. In doing so, it reduces the risks of catching respiratory infections.
Exercise also causes white blood cells to move through blood faster. Since WBCs are responsible for combating illnesses, their rapid circulation can help detect an ailment earlier. The rise in the body’s temperature when exercising can also curtail the growth of bacteria.
Exercise can indirectly control stress levels and it’s no secret that less stress translates to stronger immunity. However, one must not overdo when it comes to exercise. Over-exercising can cause problems for one’s health as well.
4. Eat healthy
Certain foods may also be of help when it comes to strengthening the immune system. However, the consumption of stimulants can have an adverse impact on your immunity. This is why cigarettes, alcohol, chocolates, coffee, etc. must be avoided.
Adding probiotics to your routine is a good idea if you want to boost your immunity. In the same way, fruits and veggies such as spinach are also great for strengthening the immune system. Add nuts and seeds to your diet as well.
Some herbs can also be of benefit in this area. These include ginseng, eleuthero, etc. Garlic is also a great immune booster as it is an antimicrobial agent. Moreover, go for medicinal mushrooms. Shiitake and maitake are two options that you can try for better immunity.
5. Get some sun
Been avoiding the sun lately to keep the harmful effects of its rays on your skin at bay? Bad idea. A wee bit of sun exposure is actually good for your health. First off, you need the sun’s rays for the production of vitamin D which benefits your health in many areas.
In fact, sunlight can also naturally boost your immunity. You don’t need to even soak the rays for hours on end for that. Just 5 to 10 minutes of sun exposure can work to stimulate immune cell activity. Therefore, the sun has immunity boosting properties.
A recent study shows that both blue light and UVA light can increase T lymphocytes activity. However, since excess sun exposure comes with many damaging impacts, it is best to follow the rule of moderation here as well.
6. Improve gut health
There’s a strong link between your immunity and gut health. An unbalanced gut health can have negative implications on your immune system. 70 percent of the cells that build up the immune system are housed in the walls of the gut.
The gut teaches the immune system to recognize the difference between the body’s reactions and foreign invaders. This is why it is pertinent to take measures to improve your gut health. As several diseases that seem unrelated to the gut actually bloom because of compromised gut health.
Ways to improve your gut include taking a probiotic, and consuming fermented foods. Also, avoid huge amounts of alcohol and coffee. Include more fiber in your diet. You can also try some safe detoxification methods to eliminate any toxins that may have made a home in your gut.
Wrapping up, these were some ways you can strengthen your immune system. Know that a strong immunity can keep illnesses at bay. It can also help your body better fight existing ailments.