The immune system is the body’s in-built disease fighting mechanism. It’s comprised of many different levels and layers at which several organs and types of cells group together to fight off disease in the most effective way. Our immune systems are complex… well… systems, and pinpointing exact ways in which we can improve it becomes difficult. As of yet, there are no existing proven direct links between lifestyle practices and boosted immunity function. However, researchers have still noted a positive correlational relationship between healthy lifestyle habits and the enhancing effects of such on the immune system. So, the best way to boost the immune system is really by protecting it.
- Engaging in a healthy lifestyle
In order to have our immune systems running optimally, maintaining a healthy state of body is paramount. The practices we make we make greatly affect the immunity of our body. Not engaging in healthy lifestyle choices directly affects our body’s ability to cope with adverse situations. Maintaining a state of overall health through diet, rest, and lifestyle choices ensures a good base for the stability of the immune system. Good diet, exercise, plenty of sleep, regular necessary vaccinations, and cutting back on harmful habits like smoking and excess drinking are all indispensable to a fully functional immune system.
- Getting enough sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors in building a healthy immune system. It’s important to not disrupt the natural circadian too much as this has a direct link on the immune system. A lack of those 8 hours of sleep causes an activation of the inflammatory immune response, reducing the activity of T cells, a type of white blood cell that acts as a guardian against infection, in the body. This in turn weakens the immune system and the body’s response to vaccines, reducing efficiency of the natural immune-response. Good sleep is one of the most fundamental factors necessary for boosting our immune systems.
- Get active
A long-standing pillar of overall health, exercise is a crucial practice when considering the immune system. Exercise gets the blood moving, thereby promoting good circulation and allowing good transmission of the cells, antibodies, and hormones necessary to fight against disease and keep harmful agents at bay. Going to the gym, walking to destinations when possible, having routine runs and other ways of staying active are great ways of getting some exercise in a day. Plus being active also lowers stress hormones, slimming your chances of getting sick.
- Managing stress
Stress is one of the biggest negative impactors on health. Tense situations trigger our “fight or flight” response by releasing stress hormones, which is helpful in the short term. But when work, the news, low emotional health start piling up, our stress hormones start firing off overtime and negatively impact the body. An excess of stress hormones is deteriorative to the immune system, weakening it over time, since it deviates from that perfect internal environment necessary for internal harmony and health. Our bodies are more susceptible to colds and other sickness when the immune system is suppressed, and long-term stress is a known suppressant. So, getting ahead of stress is extremely important to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Eat healthy
About 70- 80% of the body’s immune cells are found in the gut. To build a good immune system, a heathy gut is vital, since it’s also a crucial point at which the immune system overlaps with several other body systems. To then help support, and subsequently boost, our immune systems, eating healthy is indispensable. It is important to maintain a healthy gut and prevent inflammation within, which then affects your immune system badly too. A balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and the healthy fats found in nuts and olive oil, is best suited to building a healthy gut. Avoid an excess of meat, especially red, and processed and fried foods, which are more inflammatory and can affect your gut health negatively. Fermented foods are also great immune system boosters, building up good bacteria in the gut which help in functions like digestion. Foods like yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut are great for this purpose.
- Get your vitamins
Vitamins are one of the most essential micronutrients for the running of our bodies. Not only are certain vitamins crucial for the healthy development of certain organs and the overall endurance of our health, but getting a healthy dose of vitamins also helps healthy bodies build and boost the immune system to function optimally. Since our bodies do not produce vitamins naturally, we must source our vitamins from the food we eat, making eating healthy more crucial than ever! The best vitamins for the immune system, vitamins C, B, and E, are all easily obtainable from a well-rounded diet, and don’t always need to be supplemented by extra multi-vitamins. A daily dose of these crucial vitamin’s is necessary for healthy immune functions, and the good news is that these nutrients are easily found in a daily diet. Vitamin C is one of the most well-known immune boosters- a significant lack can make a person more prone to diseases- and can be found in fruits like oranges, strawberries, as well as greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli. Vitamin B and B6, found in meats like chicken, tuna, and salmon, is necessary for the support of vital reactions in the immune system. Vitamin E is easily sourced from foods rich in healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and greens like spinach.