Boosting your body’s natural defenses is very important, especially during this time. The beauty of our immune system is that it is in our hands: we are able to intervene and boost our own immunity. If you constantly get sick or feel tired, it means you may have a weakened immune system–your body’s defenses against germs are unable to fight back. While the tips outlined below may help boost your immune system, it will not protect you from contracting COVID-19. Here are 11 tips to find out how to strengthen the immune system.
1. Stay Active
Without a doubt, exercise is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing. Not only does it provide physical and psychological benefits, but it also aids in strengthening your immune system. One way this is done is by increasing the circulation in your body, which allows your body cells to move freely and effectively.
Studies have also shown that exercise increases antioxidant defenses which in turn decreases oxidative stress in the body. IIn fact, working out for as little as 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day can help improve your immune system. However, extreme exercise intensity can also have the opposite effect–weakening the immune system.
2. Eat a Well Balanced Diet
Having a healthy diet is one of the best lifestyle changes you can make to help boost your immunity. A well balanced diet is one that incorporates fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. While it is better to get your vitamins from real food, supplements may be helpful for those who are unable to get enough nutrients solely from their diet.
Eating foods rich in Vitamin D such as the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils can help improve the immune system. If you rarely eat these foods or do not get enough sunlight, it is recommended to add a vitamin D supplement to your diet. Furthermore, including more foods high in vitamin C such as orange, lemon, and broccoli also help boost your immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help fight free radicals in the body and enhances immune cell function.
3. Get Enough Sleep
We all know getting enough sleep is crucial, but it is one of the most underrated healthy habits. During sleep is when our body recovers, regenerates and restores itself. When you get about 7-9 hours of deep, quality sleep, your white blood cells are able to recover and prepare for the next day.
When you haven’t slept enough, it can have devastating effects on your body such as causing it to release more of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much of cortisol can suppress the immune system and increase inflammation.
4. Manage Stress
Stress is inevitable, but learning to cope and manage your stress can go a long way when learning how to strengthen the immune system. With chronic stress comes elevated cortisol levels which can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.
Stress can be managed in different ways, from daily meditation to a vacation to even little forms of self care during the week. Sometimes, taking time to get a massage, get your nails done, journal, exercise or go for a walk can make a huge difference. You should always focus on giving yourself a little extra love and care, even if it’s something small!
Sometimes we think we are engaging in all the right habits, but neglect the most basic one: hydration. Drinking water has numerous benefits from improving mood to reducing headaches and cravings.
It also helps improve your immune system by flushing out the toxins in your body. It is recommended to drink 2-4 litres of water a day, which depends on many factors such as your daily activity, health and where you live.
6. Take a Probiotic Supplement
Taking a probiotic supplement can also help improve your immune function as the probiotic bacteria helps the immune system in protecting you from harmful bacteria. It works by decreasing the bad bacteria in the gut and improving the function of the good bacteria.
7. Quit Smoking
Every single body part can benefit from giving up smoking. When nicotine is removed from the body, your brain is able to rewire and restore normal levels of nicotine, you will experience better vision and improved skin.
Apart from also preventing permanent damage to your lungs and keeping your bones and muscles strong, it can also help improve the immune system. When the immune system is not exposed to tar and nicotine, it will become stronger and more resilient to external bacteria that can make you sick.
8. Cut Down on Added Sugars
On study showed that after participants were fed different forms of added sugar, the effectiveness of the white blood cells (which function to fight off bad bacteria).
9. Drink Alcohol Responsibly
Excessive alcohol consumption can be taxing for your immune system and can lead you to becoming more sick, tired and unhealthy. When you constantly drink, your intestines become damaged and as a result, pathogens are able to easily enter the blood stream. Not only does this make you more prone to sickness, but further health problems from pneumonia to increased risk of cancer.
10. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly
Washes hands for at least 20 seconds regularly can help stave off bacteria and germs that can make you sick.
11. Think Positively
Happiness is the best medicine. Your thoughts, attitude and behavior can have a big influence on your immunity. In one study, it was shown that negative thoughts were linked to a weakened immune system. Positive thinking begins with self-talk, what you choose to tell yourself on a daily basis.
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