There are several thing you can do to strengthen your immune system. Here is some simple good advice.
How to Strengthen Your Immune System
Is it possible to strengthen your immune system and, if so, how is it done?
How to improve immune system efficiency is a topic that has universal appeal, especially during the winter months when colds and flu tend to be doing the rounds.
The body’s ability to fight germs and viruses is also often a subject that becomes particularly interesting to us as we get older.
That’s not surprising because the aging process can make people more susceptible to disease.
That’s why the elderly are encouraged to get their yearly flu shots. Prevention is always better than cure.
Most of us know people who appear to be blessed with ongoing good health and seldom appear to get ill.
It’s hard not to wonder what the secret is.
Are they just lucky or do they do know how to strengthen their immune systems by eating or doing something most people are not?
Some research suggests a powerful immune system may come down to a matter of good genetics.
However, even is this were so, improving diet and lifestyle habits is always a good way to improve immune function and enjoy better health.
A station wagon is never going to outrun a Ferrari but all cars run better when you look after them.
It’s the same with that biological machine we call the body.
Strengthening your immune system is a two fold process – eat healthily, exercise and sleep are things you should be doing. Smoking, excess drinking are things you shouldn’t be doing!
4 Steps You Can Take to Strengthen Your Immune System
There are a number of steps you can take to strengthen your immune system. Most of them involve changing your lifestyle for the better.
It’s not just a case of doing things that are good for the body.
You also need to try and avoid things that may interfere with normal immune system function and/or cause the body lasting harm in other ways as well. Things like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess.
Before you can strengthen your immune system you need to become aware of how your present lifestyle may prevent you from attaining your goal.
It’s as simple as that. Then, when you find the problem areas, you need to be willing to take action.
1. More Exercise + Less Weight = Stronger Immune System
Many people don’t get enough exercise. Along with poor diet, lack of exercise is one of the reasons so many people in the world are overweight.
Many people are aware obesity is bad for the heart, but did you know being obese can impair your immune system as well?
I’m guessing you didn’t. Most people don’t but research shows that it’s true.
Even if you are not overweight, getting some extra exercise could still do you the world of good.
Exercise strengthens the body and is good for the mind as well.
Regular exercise can also be good for warding off depression, anxiety, and ADHD. In addition to these benefits, exercise reduces stress, may help you to sleep better, and can also lift the mood.
You probably landed on this page through a desire to find out how to strengthen your immune system so you may think stress reduction and better sleep are off-topic.
Don’t make that mistake. Being constantly sleep-starved or in a state of stress can interfere with normal immune function.
Not ready to commit to going to the gym a few times each week, taking up jogging, or pursuing traditional exercise pursuits?
Don’t worry. There are many things you can do to gradually start introducing extra physical activity into your life.
One thing you can do is always opt for using the stairs instead of the lift. Another thing you can do is try using your legs more.
If the distance permits, try walking to work. You could do the same when you need to go to the store.
If it’s too far to walk, you may be able to make the journey by bike instead of using public transport or going by car.
2. Avoid Stressful People and Situations
Stress: It’s a small word to write but the condition it represents can have a tremendous impact on people and things.
Bridges collapse when they under too much stress.
It can also cause mechanical devices to fail.
Stress in human beings can cause mental breakdowns, but that’s an extreme example.
A lot of us regularly have to deal with stressful situations and manage to get through them without having a breakdown.
You could compare a mental breakdown to a collapsing bridge. When it happens, the effects of all that stress are unmistakable.
The evidence is there to see.
When we are constantly having to endure stress-causing situations or people, the cracks may not be visible but there can be a lot of bad stuff going on underneath the surface.
Stress raises blood pressure and that’s not good for the heart. Stress also causes the body to release corticosteroids (stress hormones).
One of them is cortisol.
Some research suggests high cortisol levels may influence weight gain.
However, although weight gain is undesirable and presents problems of its own, that’s not the main issue here.
Stress hormones suppress lymphocyte production. That’s not good because lymphocytes have a crucial role to play in normal immune response.
There are two types of lymphocytes:
- B Cells: Produce the antibodies that destroy invading bacteria and viruses.
- T Cells: If bacteria gains entry to a cell, the T Cells attach to the infected cell, multiply, and then destroy it.
So, the bottom line is, stress can impair the immune system by hampering lymphocyte production. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.
Stress can further impair immune system function by encouraging people to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking, getting drunk, and comfort eating. (https://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html)
Some stressful situations are hard to avoid. Most people can’t afford to turn their back on their job.
Nor is it easy to do so with family members and friends who constantly bring you down.
However, if your job is causing you too much stress it may be a good idea to start looking for alternative employment.
If it’s a family member or friend, perhaps you should try and reduce the amount of contact you have with them.
Taking up a sport is another thing that may help reduce your stress.
Failing that, you could try taking some walks.
This can be especially good if your route is through a beautiful park or some nice countryside that helps you “get back to nature”.
Yoga is also good for reducing stress. So are meditation and tai chi. Some people do pottery, others write poetry or paint.
You could also try listening to calming music. There are many ways to de-stress.
Think about it and try and find the best one for you.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
Getting more sleep may not turn you into a beauty, but it could stop you from becoming a grouch.
Ensuring you get an adequate amount of sleep can also strengthen your immune system and give you a feeling of improved physical and mental well-being.
There are many reasons why people may not get enough sleep.
It could just be that they are trying to “burn the candle at both ends” because they feel there are not enough hours in the day.
Others may have sleep apnea or a similar condition that interrupts sleep.
Or perhaps it’s a partner’s loud snoring that’s keeping you awake.
No matter what the cause, lack of sleep is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Sleep deprivation raises cortisol levels and, in so doing, is bad for your immune system and overall health.
Try to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get at least 6-8 hours sleep. More if you feel you need it.
If you have difficulty sleeping, have a chat with your doctor. They may be able to offer advice and/or medication that can help.
If you are being kept awake by snoring (yours or that of someone else) there are anti-snoring chin straps and other anti-snoring devices that may help.
4. Eat Healthy and Get the Right Nutrients
Governments all over the world recommend eating at least five pieces of fruit and vegetable each day. Most people don’t.
If you want to strengthen your immune system it is vitally important to eat the right foods!
If you want to strengthen your immune system and enjoy better health, eating your five pieces is a very good start.
If you can eat more, that’s better still. Many fruits and vegetables provide Vitamin C, which improves immune system efficiency.
Vitamin D also supports immune function.
You can get by eating cereals, mackerel, egg yolks, and beef liver.
Vitamin B6 is another vitamin that’s good for the immune system.
It aids the production of white blood cells. Your body needs more of these when it’s trying to fight diseases.
You can up your intake of Vitamin B6 by eating salmon, spinach, potatoes, and bananas.
If you want to get more zinc into you diet, eating shellfish is a good way to go. Is zinc good for the immune system?
Absolutely. Lots of people supplement with zinc when they are trying to get over a cold or flu.
If you want to strengthen your immune system, having the right diet is important so taking a look at the USDA ChooseMyPLate guidelines is a good idea.
The guidelines suggest eating a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables but contains adequate protein and grains, along with some dairy.
If you pick your foods wisely, your diet should provide a wide range of nutrients to support your immune system and keep you in good health.
If you want to cover all the bases, a good supergreens powder might help. Supplements of this type are highly nutritious but low in fat and calories. Failing that, you could take a good vitamin and mineral tablet instead.