Your immune system is hard at work twenty-four hours a day, battling the disease, combating pollutants and toxins, and even helping to reduce the effects of emotional and physical stress on your body. We often take our immune system for granted until it becomes compromised or weakened in some way, making us more susceptible to illness and injury.
Is it possible to combat every pathogen, every microorganism that has the potential to make you sick, or are you genetically predisposed to illness at certain times and in certain ways? Are there ways to naturally boost the effectiveness of your immune system and strengthen and improve your health overall?
How to boost your immunity
Your immune system is a host of different processes in the body that are designed to work harmoniously together to combat germs and bacteria that could potentially cause illness and disease. To be at its most effective, your system must be balanced and in harmony; while studies have not been completely conclusive as to the effects of lifestyle and habits on the immune system, that doesn’t necessarily mean that links don’t exist. Taking precautions to live a healthy lifestyle and foster healthy habits is always the best course of action for proactive health. Here are some recommendations for living your healthiest life and strengthening your immune system:
Tip #1: Eat a sensible diet
A diet consisting of foods that are rich in antioxidants is essential for total system and immune system health. Antioxidants found in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains work to combat the negative effects of free radicals, which can suppress immune system function and even damage DNA at a cellular level. Choosing a combination of the following foods and drinks will ensure that you are fueling your body with what it needs to create optimal health:
- fresh fruits
- fresh vegetables
- whole grains
- healthy fats such as cold-water fish, foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and cold-pressed oils
- nuts and seeds
- plenty of fresh, clean water
Giving your body the proper building blocks will ensure that you are designing your healthiest body through your dietary choices.
Tip #2: Exercise!
Regular workouts stimulate the development of T cells, a kind of white blood cell that specifically targets foreign pathogens in the body. Moderate effort exercise in as little as 30 minutes per day can reduce the incidence of colds and flu by as much as fifty percent! When incorporating exercise into your daily routine, remember that more is not always better. Certain types of strenuous or lengthy activity can actually damage and weaken your immune system, leaving you more at risk for development of disease and injury. Talk with your physician if you have questions about incorporating a healthy level of exercise into your routine.
Tip #3: Reduce your stress levels
Stress is a silent killer; its adverse effects may not make themselves immediately known to you, but their cumulative effects can be very damaging to all systems in the body. Incorporate activities such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Take time out to foster and enjoy healthy relationships, and surround yourself with a support system of friends and relatives that you can draw from in times of need. Doing all of these things will help you to reduce the risk of chronic stress sneaking up on you and robbing you of your health.
Tip #4: Practice proper sleep and proper hygiene habits
Sleep does a body good! Most adults need between 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night, while children and teenagers need as much as 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep for optimal health and wellness. Prioritize healthy bedtime habits; turn off the tv and electronics at least an hour prior to bedtime, use sheets and bedding that promotes healthy and restful sleep, and block out both artificial and natural light sources, if possible.
Taking care of your body is also essential for boosting immune system response. Regularly cleaning yourself, brushing teeth, and washing hands are all ways to reduce the risk of picking up harmful toxins and bacteria from your surroundings.
Tip #5: Take good quality vitamins and supplements
The use of certain herbs and vitamin supplements has positive effects on immunity. Vitamin C has long been praised for its ability to fight off colds and infections that occur frequently, and it has benefits that extend to the health of your skin as well. According to Earl Hailey from PatchMD, vitamin C is good for more than just boosting your immunity, It increases collagen production, which keeps your skin firm and plump. Other vitamins and minerals are known for reducing the length of the common cold, including zinc, elderberry, and echinacea. Taking these supplements proactively, or at the first sight of a cold or virus, may reduce the length and severity of its course. Incorporating a good daily multivitamin into your routine is always a good idea; our food and drink choices today are somewhat stripped of their nutrient value, and supplementation for optimal health becomes a must for those of us committed to our wellness.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; in following these healthy lifestyle tips, you’ll likely find yourself in the prime of good health, able to fight off most anything that comes your way. Here’s to your optimal health and wellness!