How to boost your immune system

How to boost your immune system

Overall, your immune system does a remarkable job defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? 

Many people think that when they get sick, their symptoms are a sign that they have a virus or an infection. However, your symptoms show that your body is fighting back against that infection or virus, triggering an immune response.

Tips on how to boost your immune system

Hand hygiene:

Soap and water can help stop the transmission of infection or viruses. Some viruses have a lipid (or fatty) layer on the outside, so simple hand washing breaks them down and stops them from spreading. Preventing viruses mostly comes down to hand hygiene or social distancing techniques.

Reduce stress:

Stress affects your health, including its impact on your immune system. During the period when you are stressed, particularly chronic stress that is frequent and long-lasting, your body responds by initiating a stress response to help you handle stressful situations. Unfortunately, this response also suppresses your immune system — increasing your chance of infection or illness. Stress is different for everyone, and how we relieve it is, too. Given the effect it can have on your health, it is necessary to know how to identify stress. Whether deep breathing, mediation, prayer, or exercise, you should also get familiar with the activities that help you reduce stress. 

The Importance of exercise 

Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against diseases. Exercise also improves blood circulation, allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

Engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise everday helps stimulate your immune system. It means focusing on staying active and getting regular exercise.

Eat a balanced diet  

Like, most things in your body, a healthy diet is key to having a strong immune system. Therefore, eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. In addition to providing your immune system the energy it needs, a healthy diet can help ensure you are getting enough of the micronutrients that play a role in maintaining your immune system, including:

  • Chicken, salmon, tuna, bananas, green vegetables, and potatoes (with the skin) contain Vitamin B6
  • The holy grail of vitamins which is Vitamin C found in citrus fruit, including oranges and strawberries, as well as tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach
  • Vitamin E, can be found in, almonds, sunflower and safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spinach

Your body absorbs vitamins more efficiently from dietary sources, rather than supplements. Therefore, the best way to support your immune system is to eat a well-balanced diet.

Stop smoking:

Smoking tobacco has several negative impacts on immune system health, such as:

Greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza.

More severe and longer-lasting illnesses.

Lower levels of protective antioxidants (such as vitamin C), in the blood.

Try to sleep: 

People who do not get enough night rest or good quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. While sleeping, the body releases proteins called cytokines, while sleep deprivation decreases their production. Cytokines are paramount during times of infection or inflammation. 

Stay Hydrated: 

Water plays an important role, including supporting your immune system. Fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, carries infection-fighting immune cells around your body, is mainly made up of water. Dehydration (not drinking enough fluid)slows down the movement of lymph, sometimes leading to an impaired immune system. Even if you’re not exercising or sweating, you lose water through your breath, urine, and bowel movements. To help support your immune system, drink at least 3L of fluid daily.

Stay up to date on recommended vaccines:

Your immune system is smart, but vaccines train it to be even smarter — helping it learn how to recognize and fight off certain disease-causing illnesses. It’s much safer for your immune system to adapt via vaccination than learn through infection with these harmful germs. It’s always important to be up to date on recommended vaccinations, especially your COVID-19 vaccine or booster and any other vaccine necessary.

You can read other general health articles here.