The immune system is our natural defense against any sort of infection or other disease-causing microorganisms. Therefore, the better our immune system, the better our chances of fighting off illnesses. However, strengthening your immune system is only easier on paper. In real life, you might need to make several dietary and lifestyle changes. This might be more difficult for some people than others; nonetheless, you are sure to benefit from this change. It is highly advised that you boost your immunity, especially in the purview of the pandemic.
Our immunity does not reside in one single place; instead, it results from the well-functioning of a complex system, some of which researchers are still trying to figure out. Therefore, it is tricky to know how doing something improves the functioning of your immune system. Many people also give up on a healthy lifestyle because they cannot see a tangible change, but we can’t see an intangible quality with our eyes. You can still see its effects, such as not getting sick, etc.
Here are some ways with which you can strengthen your immune system.
Change What You Eat
This is probably the most quintessential advice that people, both amateurs and doctors, give to you. However, this is also one of the most important pieces of advice. Simply put, eating unhealthy food makes you prone to infections and illnesses. You require a healthy and balanced diet with some critical nutrients which boost your immune system.
Beta Carotene can be found in plant foods, for example, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, mango, and tomatoes. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. Vitamin D-rich food includes eggs and fatty fishes.
You can also drink milk and fresh juices to increase the amount of vitamin D intake. Zinc can be found in beef, seafood, or vegan food such as wheat germ, beans, and tofu. Probiotics can be found in yogurts or fermented foods like Kimchi. Protein can also be taken to bolster the immune system. Protein can be found in milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, etc.
You can also opt for organic supplements for nutrition and vitamins; foundational supplements can take care of your body’s nutritional needs. Consult your nutritionist and start taking care of your health and wellness.
Focus On Sleeping Better
Sleep makes a huge difference in how well you fight off infections. Inadequate sleep has been linked to a higher susceptibility to illnesses. Research has shown that those who sleep less than 6 hours each night were more prone to catching a cold and similar illness than those who sleep for six or more hours each night; other researches have shown that adequate sleep may strengthen immunity.
It is recommended that adults should at least get seven or more hours of sleep, while teens need more between 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Blue light emitted from our laptops, phones, etc., can disrupt the circadian rhythm and change our sleeping cycle. If you’re suffering from insomnia, these steps can help, but in case they don’t, it’s a good idea to consult a CBT therapist.
Although intense exercise may put more stress on the body and consequently suppress the immune system, exercise, in moderate amounts, can help give it a boost. Moderate exercise can help you boost the effectiveness of any registered vaccine, even within those with compromised immune systems. This makes exercise a vital factor in strengthening your immune system.
Moderate exercises such as bicycling, jogging, brisk walking, etc., can also help with the regeneration of your immune cells. Studies have shown that moderate exercises may even reduce any inflammation in the body. A good amount of exercise for adults would be about 160 minutes per week.
In the modern-day, one of the most serious deteriorating factors of our lives is stress. Besides deterioration of mental health and such issues, stress can also hamper your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses and inflammations. Long-term stress can cause an imbalance in immune cell function and cause inflammation to strengthen over time. The imbalance in the immune cell function suppresses the immune response and leaves you more susceptible to sickness.
There are a lot of ways you can destress. One of the most popular ways of doing so is meditation. Meditation simply refers to the process of focusing and redirecting your thoughts. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation reduces the inflammation responses caused by stress.
Another way to reduce stress and associated anxiety is to limit caffeine intake in a day. Caffeine can act as an anxiety stimulant and worsen stress. Although people use it to bolster their performance, it can have the opposite effect. Caffeine is found in coffee, energy drinks, some chocolates, and tea. Coffee can be healthy when taken in moderate amounts; however, each person has a different threshold. You should make sure that your caffeine intake matches your threshold.
Although hydration does not act as a defense barrier between you and germs, it is extremely important for your general well-being and immune system. Dehydration can cause numerous problems in and of itself and can hinder your physical performance. It can cause headaches, disturb your mood, digestion, and can cause problems in the functioning of your heart and kidney. These inevitably lead to worse complications and susceptibility to sickness.
Dehydration can be prevented simply by drinking enough fluids like water, juice, etc. If you’re calorie conscious, water is your best bet because it does not have any calories and sugar. You may want to skip tea or juice because of their high sugar content if you’re struggling to maintain your calorie count and sugar intake.
While these suggestions look simple enough, many people have trouble adopting a healthy regimen because of their lifestyle. Most of us thrive in a fast-paced business world where we can’t find time to calculate our calorie or sugar intake, much less to exercise or listen to music. But the importance of destressing and a better lifestyle is underestimated. Initially, these changes may bug you, but they tend to keep your immune system well and prevent illnesses in the long term.
Moreover, while these suggestions cannot keep you from contracting COVID, they strengthen your body’s defenses against such harmful pathogens and may even keep you from developing fatal complications.
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