The immune system is crucial for survival. Without it, your body would be exposed to attack from different bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. Your immune system keeps you healthy as you face a sea of pathogens.
The immune system is in every part, tissue, organ, and cell of the body. Crucially, it can it’s able to distinguish your own tissue from foreign tissue. If the immune system faces a pathogen, a bacterium, virus, or parasite, it activates an immune response.
Everyone’s immune system is different, however, as a rule, it gets stronger during adulthood since, by this time, we have been exposed to more pathogens and developed more immunity.
Unfortunately, certain habits can reduce the immune system, leaving you exposed to pathogens and increasing your risk of an infection.
Every fall which is considered a cold and flu season, your immune system needs all the help it can get. Fortunately, you have options to increase the strength of your immune system and stay healthy. Here are some effective ways to boost your immune system.
1. Lower your levels of stress
Chronic stress is insidious, as it can affect nearly every aspect of your health, leading to a host of health problems, such as sleep problems, hormone imbalances, heart issues, mental issues, and a weakened immune system. Prolonged stress causes the brain to pump out more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol also has a wide range of negative effects on the body, and it can weaken your immune system as well.
People who suffer from chronic stress are more susceptible to chronic pains, the common cold, and viral infections like the flu. To manage chronic pain and boost your immune system try avoiding or alleviating severe stress.
2. Improve your sleep
It has been proven that sleep has powerful effects on the immune system and overall health. Scientists have found that insufficient sleep can impact different parts of the immune system, which can contribute to the development of a wide range of health conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and dementia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an average person needs to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night.
3. Drink alcohol moderately
Drinking too much alcohol weakens the immune system in several ways, raising your risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, and more than 10 types of cancer. To avoid that, you just need to drink moderately, which means no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
4. Get enough vitamin D
In fact, vitamin D can help manage infections, lower inflammation, and slow down cancer cell growth, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Medical experts recommend taking vitamin D to support the immune system. There is good evidence that if a person lacks vitamin D, they may have more of a propensity to get infected when there are infections around.
5. Follow a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in processed foods, simple carbs, red meat, and added sugar is one of the best ways you can boost and support your immune system. Fruits and veggies have micronutrients that support immunity, while sugars, simple carbs, and processed foods increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and inflammation, all of which undermine your body's disease-fighting defenses.
6. Get enough vitamin C
Lack of vitamin C results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients. Taking supplements containing vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. Since it's a good antioxidant, if people want to take a gram or so of vitamin C, it would have great effects on their health and immune system.
7. Get regular exercise
Exercise can improve your immune system. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that regular physical activity can cause antibodies and white blood cells to circulate through the bloodstream more quickly, potentially neutralizing disease-causing invaders faster. You can get this immune-boosting benefit from just a moderate amount of exercise - even just walking 20 minutes a day.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, a good immune system requires a healthy lifestyle and a calm mind. You don’t need to do anything difficult to boost it, just eat a healthy and nutritious diet, reduce your stress levels, get regular exercise, sleep well, and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
Don’t ignore these recommendations, and you’ll get a strong immune system and good health status. If you can’t follow any of these tips, consider talking to your healthcare provider about how to improve your overall health and your body’s defense system.