A healthy immune system is important for our well being so we are able fight off any diseases that come our way. We all get sick now and then, irrespective of how healthy we are. But you can boost the defenses of your immune system against bacteria, viruses and toxic chemicals by fine-tuning some components of your health routine like diet as well as stress management. Here are several ways you can boost your immune system naturally.
Make Dietary Changes
One important aspect in enhancing the immune system is following a diet loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are abundant in most fruits and vegetables, and combat free radicals (the chemical by-products that are known to cause damage to DNA and weaken the immune system). Choose healthy fats like the omega-3’s (found in fish oil, krill oil and flax seed), instead of saturated fats (present in meat products and many dairy products). This helps increase the body’s release of compounds that help regulate immunity.
You may also consider adding garlic or ginger to meals on a regular basis for an additional boost for your immune system. Garlic has been shown to contain virus-fighting as well as bacteria-killing properties, while ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. Avoiding sugary beverages such as energy drinks and soda, as well as drinking enough water can also help fight infections by flushing out the system, ridding it from harmful toxins.
Regular exercise releases tension and stress, and can also mobilize the T cells, a white blood cell that is known to help the body fend off infection, and therefore enhance immune function. A study carried out in 2006 on 115 women, found out that the participants who were involved in moderate exercises like jogging and brisk walking for about 30 minutes every day for a period of a year were at a lower risk of developing the common cold, compared to those who didn’t exercise routinely. But you should avoid engaging in intense, vigorous activities like running on a regular basis since they may weaken the immune system, leaving you susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. When working out and tearing muscle tissue, you release free radicals that need to be properly dealt with or they can cause harm to your immune function.
Stress and stressing situations are unavoidable. During such times, one tends to feel awful, tired and run down, and they may not eat healthy or sleep well. Stress is very detrimental to our immunity since it weakens the immune function. This is because when one is stressed, the body releases corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system. The more stressed you are, the more corticosteroids are produced, and the likelier you are to get sick. To avoid getting a cold or the flu, try to reduce your stress levels. Meditate regularly to relax, have some time to have fun with friends, and most importantly, get enough sleep. This way you will be able to manage stress. Proper nutrition will not only help the body flush out free radicals produced from stress, but help prevent it as a whole.
One of the effective ways to avoid illnesses is by simply keeping the hands clean. Make sure you wash your hands for about 15-20 seconds before preparing food , taking meals and immediately after coughing, sneezing, touching pets or public surfaces , and most importantly , after using the bathroom. It is recommended to wash hands with warm water as well as soap. Avoid touching your face with your hands, this is the leading cause of infection through eyes, mouth, ears and nose.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in warding off illnesses and can help regulate immune function, so ensure you get enough sleep. Deprivation of sleep may activate the stress response, depress the immune function and elevate inflammatory chemicals, which makes you feel ill. Chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk of the common cold and many other illnesses.
Add Lemon Juice
Lemon can help maintain the body’s internal “climate” at a pH where only healthy bacteria can thrive instead of harmful bacteria and viruses which are found in more acidic environments. You can add lemon juice to a cup of tea or even a glass of water daily.
Laughter considerably increases the activities of T cells and other components important for a healthy immune function. If you can laugh, you will automatically relieve your stress levels.
Tobacco smoke may trigger inflammation and increase respiratory mucus. People who smoke are at a high risk of suffering respiratory infections such as colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. Also depositing harmful chemicals and heavy metals that accumulate and are the leading cause of most cancers and heart disease.