The human immune system is an amazing part of the body that protects it from disease or the invasion of foreign bodies into the system, allowing the body to heal itself to protect its survival. If your immune system is properly functioning, then it will attack invading viruses such as the Coronavirus, parasites, and bacteria, all while being able to distinguish it from its own healthy tissue and preventing its destruction. Your immune system works by triggering your lymphatic system to produce white blood cells, including mature T-cells which can seek out and destroys the infection and disease that is present in your body.
Unfortunately, over time, and through poor diet and habits, the body's immune system can become weakened, which will make you more prone to becoming ill, and typically allow the illness to last longer.
The good news is that there are simple ways to improve your immune system that will enable it to better prepare itself for the invasion of viruses, bacteria, and other types of infection.
1. Eliminate Bad Habits
One of the best ways to help boost your immune system is by eliminating bad habits and adopting a more healthy lifestyle. All of the components and systems in your body will function better when they are protected from environmental assaults. Environmental hazards and toxins can be found in a number of things humans consume every day, including food, tobacco, and alcohol. Cutting out foods that are high in fat, eliminating smoking, and reducing your intake of alcohol can all help your body to better prepare itself to fight off infections and viruses.
Cutting out smoking from your daily routine can significantly improve your immune system function. Smoke can damage the tissues of your lungs, and put you at a higher risk for developing respiratory infections. The other toxins and tar in the smoke are also responsible for destroying the antibodies in your system, which can reduce your body's ability to fight off infections, causing you to remain sicker for longer.
2. Get Enough Vitamins in Your Diet
Another critical part of boosting your immune system is ensuring that you get the appropriate vitamins in your diet. Having a well-balanced diet is key to maintaining the appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, but adding additional Vitamin C, B6, and E can also help your immune system better fight off illness. Regularly preparing a power smoothie would be a great idea.
- Vitamin C: One of the vitamins that can have the most significant impact on your immune system is Vitamin C. In fact, Vitamin C is so important to immune health, that a lack of it can actually make you more susceptible to illness. Vitamin C is commonly found in food such as oranges, strawberries, spinach, kale, and broccoli. Since your body does not store or produce this vitamin is crucial that you maintain a daily intake of it, whether through your diet or a supplement.
- Vitamin E: Antioxidants are important to the defense against illness, and Vitamin E is a powerful one. Antioxidants control free radicals, which can damage immune system cells. So by eating a diet rich in Vitamin E, you can reduce the damage to your immune system, allowing it to function as it should. To get some added Vitamin E to your diet, you can consume seeds, nuts, and spinach.
- Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps your red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the various tissues and organs in the body. When there is not proper oxygenation, your immune system can be weakened. While some people will take supplements, you can obtain much of your needed intake of Vitamin B6 from food such as coldwater fish, green vegetables, and chicken.
3. Reduce Stress
The mind and body are closely linked with physical symptoms manifesting themselves in instances of extreme emotional stress. This occurrence has caused researchers to better delve into the relationship between the immune system and its response to stress. During these studies, scientists focused on chronic stress instead of isolated incidents to see how the body's immune system would respond. Long-term stress was found to suppress the protective immune responses in the body, making you more prone to illness.
While it can be hard to reduce or eliminate short-term stresses, a reduction in chronic stressors in your daily life can allow your immune system to function more optimally when it comes under attack. Try to reduce triggers in workplace and family stress as well as implement stress coping strategies, such as mediation, yoga, or relaxation techniques.
4. Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is not only important to alertness and cognitive function but also to your body's overall health and immunological function. Lack of sleep can affect how prone you are to illness, as well as how well your body will recover when you are fighting off an illness. When you sleep, your immune system will release cytokines, which are proteins. These proteins help to promote sleep and also naturally increase when your body is fighting inflammation or infection.
Lack of sleep can reduce the productions of these vital cytokines, causing your body's infection-fighting antibodies to be diminished. So how much sleep is enough? While everyone's body is different, it is recommended that adults get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep each night, but no more than eight and a half, or it could lead to a poor sleep cycle.
5. Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise routines can help improve your overall health, which can better prepare you to fight off illness and infection. Exercise can also help give your immune system the boost it needs to reduce your risk of becoming ill in the first place, and reducing your time of illness if it does occur.
The American Journal of Medicine has conducted studies that revealed that even moderate exercise, such as walking for a half-hour to one hour a day could cut your number of colds for the year in a half. Exercise can lead to a higher production of white blood cells, which can assist your body in fighting off infection. In older people, exercise can also increase the number of T-cells in the body, which is a type of white blood cell that also fights infection, and tends to be reduced as one gets older.
It is recommended that you get between 30 minutes to an hour of mild to moderate exercise a day, or moderate to intense exercise for an hour a few times a week. If you are ill, it is still ok to exercise as long as you are not taking medication that increases your heart rate or do not become short of breath.