How does one improve their immune system? Holistically, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes, it fails. A germ manages to invade successfully and make you ill. Is it possible then to intervene in this process and boost to take care of your immune system? What if you make certain lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a great immune response?
The idea of boosting your immunity is alluring, but the ability to do so has proved difficult for many reasons. The immune system is precisely that – a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the complexities and interconnectedness of the immune response. Right now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.
But this does not mean that the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren’t intriguing and shouldn’t be studied. Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in humans and our animal counterparts. Meanwhile, a general healthy-living strategy is a great way to take care of your immune system.
Helpful ways to strengthen take care of your immune system
Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as the following:
- Try to minimize stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
- Exercise regularly
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
- Get adequate sleep
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
Here are some tips on ways to take care of your immune system from Alfredo Batallar and his team of experts at SHA Wellness Clinic, one of the world’s premier wellness destinations in Spain.
1. Seasonal fruit and vegetables
Founder of SHA Wellness Clinic, Mr. Bataller says that a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, vitamin C and antioxidants helps reinforce the immune system and prevents disease. It’s highly recommended to choose fruit and vegetables that are in season to ensure that they are as fresh and nutritious as possible.
2. immunity-boosting superfoods
Nutrition expert Melanie Waxman shares the secret to keep the immune system in perfect working order. According to her, one should enjoy a diet based on fresh food that helps maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota. It should include whole grains, beans, seaweed (spirulina), nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables – such as kale, onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus, and fruit, such as apples.
3. Moderate exercise
Personal trainer, Luis Ganso emphasizes the importance of 30-minutes of moderate exercise in the form of fast-paced walking. This has shown to improve the functions of the immune system and strengthen our respiratory capacity, mobilizing, antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more quickly, and detect and neutralize external attacks. Meanwhile, raising the body temperature helps to prevent the development of infection.
4. Outdoor exercise
Mr. Bataller says that it’s always a good idea to spend some time during the day walking outdoors – preferably in nature. Spending time outdoors is important for breathing fresh air and absorbing the vitamin D provided by the sun which is so crucial to support calcium absorption and the proper functioning of the immune system.
5. Regular Exercise
He also emphasized that exercise is always good, even if we may have lost motivation during a lockdown or if we feel tired or low on energy. Exercise strengthens the immune system and makes our bodies secrete ‘happy’ hormones, or endorphins while reducing the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Stress is harmful to the body, and having less of it actually strengthens the immune system.
6. Deep breathing
Body and mind expert and yoga coach, Rachel Rose talks about the importance of stable mental health and how it is basic to managing stress and in turn, the immune system. Lymphocytes are found in lymph nodes and organs, and in the blood. Lymph nodes are the body’s first line of defense against disease. Breathing is directly related to lymph flow, and lymph flow is directly related to immunity.
7. Adequate rest
According to Mr. Bataller, getting quality sleep is essential to reinforce our immune system. While not getting enough sleep can cause our immunity to decline, it can also make us more prone to infectious diseases. Adults should sleep at least seven to eight hours every day.
8. Rethink the most important meal of the day
Healthy nutrition expert, Maria Romeralo explains that when we start the day with sugary coffee and a pastry, we instantly feel good and full of energy. However, after a while, our energy levels drop and our bodies demand more sugar. This is why it’s important to avoid refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and honey at breakfast.
9. Friends and family
Confinement can lead to loneliness, sedentariness, and depression, all of which are detrimental to the proper functioning of the immune system. So remaining in touch with our loved ones helps calm the mind, enables us to cope with the stress of these uncertain times, and also reduces the risk of obesity and alcohol and tobacco abuse.
10. Lasting lifestyle changes, not a quick-fix
Melanie Waxman, a healthy nutrition expert concludes by saying that it is extremely important to transition to a healthy lifestyle gradually, with a view to maintaining it long term.
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