An individual’s immune system is the pillar of his health. It fights against all pathogens, illnesses, and diseases. It is a complex system, which includes blood, skin cells, bone marrow, tissues, and organs. They form a defense mechanism against all kinds of foreign substances in your body. It keeps you away from all bacteria, viruses, and even noninfectious conditions like sunburn or cancer.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The old saying is undoubtedly correct because eating nourishing foods rich in vitamins boosts your immune system. This helps you fight illnesses and recover quickly.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When our immune system comes in contact with a foreign and unknown substance in the body, it triggers an immune response. This response generates antibodies, which attach to that foreign substance antigen and kill it immediately.
Your lifestyle substantially affects how well your immune system will work and protect against viruses, bacteria, chronic illnesses, and germs. Replace bad habits with healthier ones to improve how your immune system fights. Practice the following good-for-you habits to boost your immune system.
– PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Exercising regularly or incorporating any physical activity in your daily life tends to improve your lifestyle in every way. It releases endorphins (hormones that regulate the feeling of pain and provide pleasure & happiness). Being physically active not only keeps you alert but also reduces stress & anxiety. Stress destroys health and adversely affects the immune system.
According to epidemiological evidence, physically active people tend to have a lower incidence of acute and chronic illnesses. Obesity is the root of quite a few diseases like hyperlipidemia, diabetes, heart disease, etc. These illnesses make your immune system weak.
Exercising with moderate intensity for at least an hour every day (either jogging, aerobics, or cycling) helps you stay fit and healthy. It supports your mood, reduces inflammation, improves blood circulation, factors hugely affecting the immune system.
– YOUR DIET
A healthy, full of nutrition, balanced diet plays a crucial role in staying fit. The nutrients you get from a plant-based diet like fruits, vegetables, certain spices, and herbs help your immune system function appropriately. These foods are rich in antiviral and antimicrobial properties that combat infections.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the king of all vitamins in boosting up your immune system. It increases the production of white blood cells that fights off infections. Almost all citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. Foods rich in Vitamin C include bell peppers, tangerines, spinach, kale, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, oranges, grapefruit, and lemon. You won’t even need a Vitamin C supplement if you check on your diet closely.
- Garlic and Ginger
Garlic has a sulfur-containing compound called Allicin. This compound has been shown to improve immune system function, making you immune against infections.
Ginger contains the compound gingerol having anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces cholesterol and strengthens the immune system by fighting off viruses.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another excellent source to enhance the function of your immune system. Sun is a significant source of Vitamin D. You can also get Vitamin D from yogurt, salmon, tuna, milk, and cereals.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vital for a healthy immune system. It helps to combat various infections. Many food sources are rich in Vitamin E, like almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados, and leafy greens. These are rich in Vitamin E and other minor nutrients like selenium, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. These nutrients play a vital role in enhancing the function of your immune system.
Protein is another central element for immune health. The amino acids that make the protein are vital for the building and maintenance of immune cells. Missing out on protein can reduce your ability to fight infections. It’s recommended to consume your protein from plant sources like legumes, nuts, and seeds—meat like turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb. Avoid processed sources of nutrients.
Please avoid the use of sugars because research suggests that it tapers the ability of white blood cells to engulf and kill the pathogens.
- TAKE PROPER SLEEP
A study proves that your body regenerates and heals itself when you sleep. This is essential for a healthy immune system. Sleeping allows your body to regulate chemicals like cytokines (a chemical that fights inflammation), T cells (white blood cell that generates an immune response), and interleukin 12.
When your sleep cycle is irregular or inadequate, your body might not be able to perform these functions well. This will make you more likely to get sick. Sleep deprivation and insomnia elevate cortisol levels, which is terrible for your immune health. You should follow a proper sleeping routine along with hygiene; turn off electronics at least two to three hours before bed and avoid distractions.
- AVOID TOXINS
Toxins like alcohol and smoking can harmfully impact your immune system. Your body tends to detoxify itself when you drink or smoke in excess that it neglects the regular immune system. Chronic use of alcohol reduces the levels of T cells and B cells in your body, wearing out your ability to fight against microbes and prolonging the recovery period.
- CHECK FOR YOUR SYMPTOMS
Your body time and again sends signals to inform what is wrong in its functioning. Look for what it tells. Chronic conditions like asthma, COPD, diabetes, heart diseases, stress, or arthritis negatively affect the immune system and put you at risk for infections. It will take pretty long to recover from an illness. Managing stress and early symptoms can protect you from different diseases, and your immune system will thank you.