Our bodies turn to our immune systems when they need to fight infections. Strengthening our immune systems sounds easy enough, but it is not always so. You may need to make some dietary and lifestyle changes to strengthen your body’s natural defenses so that your body is in a better position to fight infections. Below, we will look at a few things you can do to boost your immunity so your immune system has an easier time fighting infection.
Exercise is one of the best ways of boosting our immune systems. Exercise helps antibodies and white blood cells circulate rapidly, which means they are able to identify and fight infections faster. Exercising also helps lower stress hormones, which helps reduce the chances of getting sick.
Get Enough Sleep
Numerous studies have shown a direct link between getting enough sleep and staying healthy. In several studies, people who got inadequate or low-quality sleep were much more likely to catch a cold than those who got more than 6 hours of meaningful sleep per night.
Eating Whole Plant Foods
Whole plant foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that have been proven to boost your immunity. The antioxidants in these foods help combat free radicals, which helps reduce inflammation. Inflammation has been shown to lead to numerous health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, different types of cancer, and heart disease.
The fiber in whole plant foods is also good for the bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut microbiome does strengthen your immunity by ensuring harmful bacteria do not enter the body through the digestive system.
Also, fruits have a high amount of vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the duration of colds and other illnesses.
While there is scattered evidence that shows using supplements can help reduce the chances of getting sick, there is a lot of evidence that shows that using supplements can reduce the duration of illnesses. Vitamin C is cited widely, and for good reason. Taking 1000 to 2000 milligrams of vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration of colds as does taking 75mg of zinc per day. Elderberry supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections, while garlic has been shown to reduce the chances of getting a cold by up to 33%. If you decide to use supplements to either boost immunity or reduce the duration of colds and similar illnesses, it is always a good idea to opt for capsules over pills. Capsules tend to be easier to swallow than tablets and because the supplement inside the capsules is usually in powder form, it is absorbed in the stomach faster.
Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats have lots of benefits such as improving cognitive function and our skeletomuscular systems. Healthy fats have also been shown to help our bodies fight pathogens by lowering the chances of having chronic inflammation, which suppresses our immune system.
Healthy fats such as olive oil have also been shown to reduce incidences of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While water itself does not boost your immunity, it can help you reduce complications that make you more susceptible to illnesses. For example, staying hydrated has been shown to reduce the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.
Staying hydrated can also help flush toxins that can do a lot of harm out of the body, as well as help you recover faster from colds and similar illnesses.
When you have chronic stress, your body produces stress hormones that have been shown to suppress the immune system. People who are under chronic actress produce a higher number of cytokines. Cytokines trigger inflammation and a higher concentration of them in the body increases the chances of infections.
People who are stressed have also been shown to ignore healthy habits such as eating and exercising properly or getting enough meaningful sleep, all of which have been shown to have detrimental effects on our immune systems.
Refined carbohydrates and added sugars lead to obesity and being overweight. Both of these conditions increase the risk of getting sick. For example, it has been shown that people with obesity are much more likely to get the common cold even if they have been vaccinated.
Limiting the intake of added sugars can decrease inflammation and help you lose weight, which helps reduce your risk of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Given that heart disease, obesity, and heart disease all weaken your immune system, reducing your sugar intake could help boost your immunity by helping you avoid all these conditions.
Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria, and the presence of these bacteria can help the body differentiate between healthy, normal cells, and invading pathogens. The use of probiotics has also been shown to reduce and fight colds.
Boosting your immune system remains the best way to remain healthy and give your body what it needs to fight illnesses and invading pathogens. Making simple lifestyle and dietary choices goes a long way in helping you do this, but ensure you talk to a doctor or nutritionist before making wholesale changes to your lifestyle or diet to ensure you are doing it right.