Immune system

Eight Ways to Strengthen Your Body’s Immunity

The world has seen an increase in deadly pandemics in recent years, with more predicted. Even with medical advancements, we remain vulnerable to wide-scale disease outbreaks like never before. With the next probable pandemic expected soon, there’s worry about it toppling lives and businesses around the globe with devastating consequences.

Luckily, our body’s immune system can fight illnesses to a great extent. It’s our first line of defense against sickness. A strong immune system can be our best chance of staying healthy, and there are ways to strengthen it.

Keen to learn more? Read on.

Eight Ways to Strengthen Your Body's Immunity
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What is an Immune System?

Let’s start with the basics. An immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, and proteins that work to protect us from disease-causing pathogens. It helps recognize foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses and also remembers them so that it can quickly respond when they invade again.

Unfortunately, our immune systems can weaken due to stress, lack of sleep, age, and unhealthy lifestyle habits.

But there are ways to help keep it strong and resilient.

Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

1.   Keep Your Lung Health Under Check:

We all know how lungs oxygenate the blood and keep us alive. But our lungs are also crucial for immunity as they are the main gateway for pathogens. Contaminants like smoke, chemicals, and dust can damage the delicate tissues in our respiratory system. It increases the risk of infections and other illnesses.

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Therefore, you should limit your exposure to environmental pollutants and improve the air quality in your home by using air purifiers. Quitting smoking is another excellent way of improving your lung health. Moreover, including respiratory vitamins like Vitamin C and Zinc in your diet also supports lung health.

2.   Maintain a Healthy Weight:

According to CDC, being overweight or obese can increase your risk of illnesses like heart disease, gallbladder disease, and type 2 diabetes. It can also weaken your immune system as it increases inflammation in the body. Statistics show that at least 2.8 million people die yearly from obesity-related illnesses.

So, focus on maintaining a healthy weight by eating nutritious foods and keeping up an exercise routine. You should also avoid crash and fad diets as they may not provide the body with the essential nutrients it needs.

Women should consume between 1600 and 2400 calories to sustain a healthy weight, while men require 2000-3000 caloric intake daily.

3.   Eat More Plant Foods:

Our bodies have free radicals and unstable molecules that can damage our cells and DNA. These free radicals also cause chronic inflammation linked to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.

Antioxidants like vitamins A and E can neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Plant foods contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that provide adequate protection against oxidative damage.

Moreover, fruits and vegetables are chock-full of Vitamin C, which may help shorten the common cold’s length.

You should aim to eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. You can also include healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and seeds in your diet to help balance out the free radicals in your body.

4.   Increase Your Probiotic Intake:

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep our gut microbiome healthy. It is essential for a strong immune system as most of our immune cells are in the gut. Probiotics can help reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and fight off infection-causing pathogens.

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Research suggests that children who consume around 70ml of fermented milk daily are 20% less likely to suffer from childhood infectious diseases.

You can increase your probiotic intake by consuming fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. It is also beneficial to take probiotic supplements regularly.

5.   Cut Down Your Sugar Intake:

High sugar consumption has been linked to weakened immunity. According to a study, eating more than 25 grams of sugar daily can reduce the activity of white blood cells that fight off infection.

It is said that refined sugar and processed foods can feed the harmful bacteria in our gut, which can cause inflammation and weaken our immune response.

Keeping your sugar intake below 5% of your daily calorie count is ideal for optimal health. It translates to roughly two tablespoons for an individual who consumes a 2,000-calorie diet.

To reduce sugar intake, limit or avoid sodas, sugary snacks, and processed foods. Choose whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead. You should also opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

6.   Stay Physically Active:

Physical activity can help to strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of illnesses. It increases blood flow, which helps to circulate oxygen and antibodies more quickly. Regular exercise also helps to reduce inflammation and stress hormones in the body.

According to the CDC, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Mix your exercise routine with walking, jogging, biking, and swimming.

You can also add strength training exercises like lifting weights and resistance band exercises. It will help to build muscle and keep your body strong.

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If you are new to exercising, it is recommended that you start slowly and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts.

7.   Get Enough Sleep:

During sleep, the cells and tissues in the body rebuild, recover and rest. It’s also when certain hormones are released in the body that helps to regulate the immune system. Without adequate sleep, our body does not get a chance to repair or recharge. It can lead to weakened immunity and make us more susceptible to illness.

Amongst 164 healthy adults, the study revealed that those who slept for 6 hours or less nightly were more vulnerable to catching a cold than participants who managed at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Therefore, you must always get 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night to keep your body and mind healthy. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to walk before bed or read something calming.

8.   Avoid Stress:

Stress is a significant factor that can weaken immunity. It is associated with inflammation, which makes us more prone to illnesses. Stress also releases hormones like cortisol in the body, which can suppress the immune system.

Therefore, managing stress by taking time out for yourself and doing things that make you happy is essential. Whether reading a book, playing video games, or just walking in nature, do something that helps you relax and stay in a positive frame of mind.

Some other effective ways to manage stress include deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.

Conclusion:

Regarding our health, everything boils down to healthy lifestyle choices. Eating right, exercising, sleeping well, and managing stress play an important role in building a strong immune system.

So, to protect yourself from illnesses, follow the tips mentioned above and incorporate them into your lifestyle. You must also keep your body hydrated and get regular medical checkups.

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