Your immune system plays a vital role in protecting your body against diseases and illnesses. It is made up of your blood, skin, organs, tissues, and bone marrow cells. When working the way they should, these cells also defend your body against harmful pathogens (such as viruses and bacteria) and limit the damage caused by noninfectious agents (such as cancer or sunburn).
Boosting Your Immune System: What To Do
Below are some tips you might want to consider to boost your immune system:
When you exercise regularly, it lowers the risk of developing chronic diseases. This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Not only that, but it prevents you from having any bacterial and viral infections
Exercise is also great in releasing endorphins. These hormones help create feelings of pleasure and reduce pain, which is a great way to take stress under control. Moreover, since stress can weaken your immune system, exercising is also another way to help boost your immune response.
At a bare minimum, it would be best to meet the physical activity guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adults are recommended to get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. This includes jogging, walking, and cycling. This is also equivalent to one hour and 15 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise (such as running). While doing physical activities, you can also rely on barbend’s best treadmill picks at your home.
CDC also recommends you do strength training at least twice a week. Furthermore, it is vital to note that more physical activity is associated with several health benefits. Hence, aim high and do your best to get as much physical activity as possible.
Don’t Smoke Cigarettes
Smoking actively reduces the immune system. The chemicals let off by cigarette smoke can interfere with the function and growth of your immune cells, such as T cells, cytokine, and B cells. Moreover, the chemicals released by cigarette smoke are nicotine, cadmium, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides.
Besides reducing your immune system, smoking can also worsen bacterial and viral infections, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-surgical infections. Hence, it would be best not to smoke. Furthermore, try to avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible.
Drink Alcohol Moderately
It is vital to know that drinking a lot of alcohol is linked to negative health effects. This includes lowered immune function. If you consume too much alcohol, what your body does is it keeps itself busy detoxifying your system. This means your body won’t have time to perform its normal immune system functions.
According to a review published in 2015 in the Alcohol Research journal, high amounts of alcohol in your body can slow down your recovery time and weaken its ability to fight infection. Because of this, people who tend to drink a lot of alcohol are more likely to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, certain cancers, and alcoholic liver disease.
If you don’t drink, then that’s fine. However, it would be best to limit your alcohol consumption if you do drink occasionally. Try to limit yourself to having two drinks per day if you are a man and one drink per day if you are a woman.
Have a Healthy Diet
The nutrients food provides vital in keeping your immune system strong. These nutritious foods include plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, spices, and herbs. Furthermore, many plant-based foods also contain antimicrobial and antiviral properties that are great for fighting off infections.
For example, according to research, oregano, clove, cinnamon, cumin, and thyme contain antimicrobial and antiviral properties. This prevents the growth of Pseudomonas fluorescens and Bacillus subtilis, both of which are food spoiling bacteria. Not only that, but it also prevents the growth of Aspergillus flavus and antibiotic-resistant microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Zinc, iron, folate, copper, selenium, vitamins A, E, C, B12, and B6 you gain from the food you eat are the nutrients your immunes system requires to function properly. These nutrients perform a specific and unique role in supporting immune function. For example, research suggests that vitamin C deficiency might increase your risk of developing an infection.
It is vital to know that our bodies cannot naturally produce vitamin C on their own. That is why we need to get it through our diet. Moreover, eating kiwis, citrus fruits, and several cruciferous vegetables can help you get your body’s vitamin C needs.
Protein is also essential for your immune health. The amino acids found in protein can help maintain and build your immune cells. Furthermore, skimping on this macronutrient might hurt your body’s ability to fight off infection.
In order to get a strong immune system through your diet, it will help if you incorporate more plants and plant-based foods. Add some fruits and vegetables to your smoothies, stews, soup, and salads.
Keep Your Stress Under Control
A review published in the Current Opinion in Psychology suggests that long-term stress can lead to chronically elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that can help prevent your immune system from reacting before a stressful event is over. This is actually beneficial. However, if the cortisol levels are high, it blocks your immune system from doing its job in protecting you from potential threats.
There are several ways you can do to keep your stress under control. The key is to find what perfectly fits you. Moreover, you can research these ways and learn more about them.
Get Enough Sleep
When you sleep, your body regenerates and heals. This is when your body produces and distributes the key immune cells such as T cells, cytokine, and interleukin 12. Furthermore, when you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system might not perform its job very well, and you will become vulnerable to illnesses and diseases.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, all adults should get at least 7 hours of good sleep. To help you get a night of quality sleep, you might want to consider practicing good sleep hygiene. This includes turning off your electronics at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed and avoiding stressful conversations or books.
In a Nutshell
Your immune system is responsible for keeping you healthy. It protects your body from developing any illness and disease. Hence, it is best to boost your immune system at all times in order to prevent future health problems.