The immune system is your main defence against diseases and infection and usually does a great job. We must say that it protects your body, so you have to take care of it, to be stronger. If it functions well, the immune system must be able to detect various agents, also known as pathogens; from viruses to parasitic worms, and most importantly it must distinguish them from the body’s own healthy tissue.
The immune system sometimes breaks because it’s not an impenetrable shield that deflects all diseases and infections, and you probably already know that. Older people tend to have a weaker system because, over the years, it slowly crumbles. And that is a normal thing for every one of us.
In this article, we will talk about how we can make this process slower and improve our immune systems most healthily. Many medicaments can improve it, but we won’t talk about them. We will be talking about a healthier lifestyle.
The symptoms that indicate that your immune system is running low:
- Catching a cold easily
- Catching flu more than 2-3 times in a year
- Repeated infections
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Constant cold hands and others
The causes of these symptoms could be many, but the main 4 are lack of sleep, not enough exercise, unhealthy food, and stress.
Now let’s talk about boosting your immune system because the cold days are not far from now. The ways to improve it and allow it to work properly to protect you from viruses and diseases are:
1. Foods to build the immune system
Eat healthily, stay healthy.
The best way to boost your immune system is probably the simplest. Eating fruits and vegetables will help your body in so many ways, and one of which is the talked above.
Your daily food consumptions should include spinach, garlic, broccoli, and some citrus fruits which you can find easily in the local store: lemons, oranges, grapefruits for vitamin C.
You could even add a slice of lemon to your water.
Vitamins that boost the immune system
Almonds are also a great source of vitamin C and vitamin E, which is essential for your immune system. The vitamins that are most important for your immune system are vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. The foods we talked about above, mainly provide you with vitamin C and E. Vitamin B6 rich foods are chicken, tuna fish, and salmon.
2. Drink less alcohol
It’s no secret that excessive drinking has several negative effects on your body and your immune system. Drinking causes you to be more susceptive to certain diseases and more vulnerable to infections. That could lead to life-threatening complications like liver failure which means that the immune system turns on the body’s own tissues.
Reducing your daily alcohol consumption will have positive effects on your body as a whole. Drinking makes your immune system have a harder time fighting common diseases like flu and infections.
You don’t need to be a gym maniac to be healthy.
Actually, 20 minutes of daily exercise is enough to keep your immune system and body healthy. It does not necessarily need to hit the gym any possible time you are free. Just try to make sure that you do about 20 minutes of exercise a day to keep yourself healthy. You could run, try yoga, HIIT at home or any other sport that involves you sweating and moving.
Another important thing is that you should not overtrain because studies find that overtraining causes negative effects on your overall system. Find a balance and don’t burn yourself out.
4. Get enough sleep, reduce stress levels
Studies find that sleep has a direct impact on how strong your immune system is. Even short-term sleep loss affects your stress levels and system. Especially in the winter when you defences against flu and infections; you must be the strongest and make sure you get enough sleep.
Sleep reduces stress levels, and that has a direct effect on your immune system. Basically getting enough sleep translates in you being healthier, and be better protected from infections and diseases.
If you try getting 8-9 hours of healthy sleep regularly, your overall health will improve significantly. Attempt to fit such healthy goals in your lifestyle, and you will feel better, and be happier, and honestly what’s more important than that?
5. Quit smoking or reduce it
I know quit smoking is much more easily said than done, but it is a bad habit that affects not only your immune system but your health as a whole. The damage caused to your system by smoking is well documented.
Smoking causes prolonged infections and catching them much more frequently. Also, it destroys vitamin C and other antioxidants that kill cells responsible for causing cancer.