9 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | The Fair Flow
Our immune system is a crucial and intricate network of protection that helps us stay healthy, but it needs our support to remain strong. We can give the body what it needs by ensuring we get an adequate supply of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins – as well as enough restful sleep & moderate physical activity. This will keep our immune systems strong enough to thwart any invasion while ensuring it doesn't overreact unnecessarily! This blog post discusses how the immune system works and provides 9 tips to help you boost your immunity.
How the immune system works
The immune system is a complex network of white blood cells, proteins, organs, and tissues that work together to ward off infection. When working properly, it is an ingenious defense mechanism that can recognize foreign bodies, viruses, and bacteria and combat them with immune responses. Specialized immune cells patrol our body searching for any sign of infection, which then triggers the production of antibodies to fight against the invaders.
Through this natural process, the immune system is able to recognize healthy tissue from potentially harmful pathogens and focuses its energy on ridding the body of diseased or infected cells by killing them so that the healthy cells are left unharmed. This gives the body a powerful ally in its battle against disease and helps keep us healthy throughout our lives.
How to boost your immune system
Despite our immune system’s formidable capabilities, there are times when germs successfully invade and make us sick. Since we cannot prevent all illnesses from occurring, the focus has shifted to working on boosting our immune defenses.
While no one can guarantee immunity against all diseases, there are effective ways to enhance immunity. Taking proactive steps toward strengthening your immune system is the best way to ensure you stay protected against the numerous risks posed by invading microorganisms.
1 Don't smoke or use drugs
Smoking is incredibly detrimental to one's health. The toxic chemicals that are inhaled when smoking weakens the body's ability to produce and maintain healthy cells, which reduces its resistance against common viruses, illnesses, and infections. Regularly smoking also puts extra stress on vital organs like the lungs, which compromises their ability to filter out harmful bacteria and other germs.
2 Use alcohol in moderation
Drinking has long been thought of as a social pastime, but studies increasingly show that it can have serious effects on the human body-specifically the immune system.
Excessive drinking can have both acute and chronic downstream effects on the immune response, including decreased ability to fight against bacterial and viral infections and increased inflammation. On top of this, it can often lead to organ damage like cirrhosis of the liver or alcohol hepatitis.
3 Get plenty of sleep
Not only are those who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep more likely to become ill after being exposed to viruses, but the amount of time it takes to recover from illness is often greatly prolonged.
Many experts recommend trying to obtain between 7–9 hours of restful sleep each night in order to ensure optimal immune health, as well as physical and mental well-being.
4 Exercise regularly
Exercise not only gives your body and all its cells a boost of energy that is used during activity, but it also has lasting effects on the immunity system.
According to research, the immune cells in the body can remain active for up to three hours after exercise has been completed.
During this period, these immune cells are able to more quickly and effectively identify any unwelcome intruders and keep you from getting sick.
5 Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals
Eating healthy foods is essential for maintaining proper immune system functioning. A healthy diet impacts our immune systems in multiple ways, such as working as an antioxidant to reduce damage from outside sources, encouraging the healthy growth of cells that fight infection, and activating the production of antibodies that aid the body's defenses against invading pathogens.
Studies have highlighted the fact that those lacking optimal nutrition are at higher risk of being unable to properly protect themselves against bacterial, viral, and other attacks on their health.
6 Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight is not just bad news for our physical appearance; it's also bad news for our immune system.
That's because eating a diet high in sugar and fat, or eating too many calories in general, can lead to increases in blood sugar that decrease the body's ability to fight off infection.
Additionally, extra calories can cause oxidative damage, which may also have a negative effect on immunity.
Together, these unhealthy conditions weaken the body's natural capacity to fight disease and make it vulnerable to infection and other health problems.
7 Minimize stress
Chronic stress is a major problem that can have profound effects on the entire body, including wreaking havoc on the immune system.
When faced with stressful situations, our brains release cortisol, a natural hormone designed to help us cope with stress.
However, elevated levels of cortisol over extended periods of time can actually weaken the body's natural defenses.
Specifically, it depresses the number of lymphocytes- cells involved in fighting bacteria and viruses - as well as disrupts normal communication between cells, which hinders their ability to recognize and fight off invaders.
8 Stay up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations
Vaccines are essential for protecting us against certain illnesses and viruses.
Vaccinated individuals often have a much lower risk of developing or transmitting health-threatening diseases than those who are not vaccinated, as vaccines help the body create immunity to a particular virus by introducing an antigen into the body that mimics it. This gives the immune system a chance to practice fighting off the virus and prepares it for a future encounter.
Vaccines are especially important for those who have weakened immune systems, as their bodies may not be able to fight off certain illnesses.
Keeping up with all recommended vaccinations is an essential part of maintaining a strong immune system and overall health.
9 Visit your doctor regularly for check-ups
Finally, it's important to stay up-to-date on all of your medical check-ups and tests. Regular visits to your doctor can help identify any problems or illnesses that may be present in the body, as well as provide an opportunity for prevention through preventive screenings.
Foods that boost the immune system
While the immune system is an intricate puzzle composed of multiple components, many people still turn to vitamin supplements and "immune-boosting" foods to keep their bodies safe in the midst of cold and flu season.
Vitamin C, vitamin E, and certain dietary staples like citrus fruits, chicken soup, and hot tea with honey have become especially sought after for their perceived health benefits.
However, science has shown us that such consumption alone does not create complete immunity against illness.
Instead, a more holistic approach is best practice: Maintaining a balanced diet - with plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats - along with plenty of restful sleep and regular exercise - provides our bodies with the best opportunity to protect themselves from infection or disease.
Stress and the immune function
Modern medicine has made impressive strides in understanding the intertwined relationship between mind and body. It's become increasingly clear that emotional stress can have a massive impact on our physical health, leading to issues like chronic fatigue, digestive problems, and even heart disease.
While this newfound knowledge obviously poses great challenges due to its complexity, scientists are dedicated to continuing to explore the impact of stress on immune function.
Research is being conducted into new ways to effectively protect us from the detrimental effects of everyday stresses and hopefully pave the way for better health outcomes in the future.
The immune system as we age
As we age, our immune system becomes weaker and less effective, making it more difficult to fight off infectious diseases.
Numerous studies have found that the elderly are more prone to infectious diseases as compared to younger people and even more so, they have a higher mortality rate when it comes to such ailments.
Why exactly this happens is unknown; however, many scientists link the decrease in defense against these diseases with the diminished number of T cells produced from a smaller thymus.
This means the immune system of an older individual has much less capacity to fight infection than that of a younger person.
Scientists are also studying if bone marrow becomes less efficient at producing the stem cells that give rise to immune system cells. If so, this could explain why immune systems become weaker with age.
It’s easy to take our immune system for granted. However, healthy immune system practices as outlined above can help protect your body from infection or illness.
You need to make a conscious effort to build strong immunity and put forth a little extra effort on a daily basis: eat a balanced diet, de-stress, and get enough sleep.
While there is no guaranteed prevention for every virus or disease, these processes can go a long way in strengthening your natural defenses.
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Remember, taking care of your immune system is one of the most important ways to keep your body healthy and strong!
Wishing you a healthier life!