Effective Immunity Boosters
Is it possible to boost your immune system? While you can’t entirely prevent germs from entering your body, you can affect how your body responds to viruses, bacteria, and pathogens.
Consistently maintaining a healthy lifestyle will significantly strengthen your immune system. Don’t wait until you’re sick to start cultivating healthy habits. In this article, we’ll show you eight effective immunity boosters to help your immune system, starting today.
8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Our immune system protects us from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and toxins produced by microbes. Various organs, the lymphatic system, cells, and hormones all make up this incredible system that serves to protect our body from harmful invaders.
Get Enough Sleep
Experts recommend 7 or more hours of good quality sleep for adults each night.
Teenagers and children need even more rest. Sleep deprivation can have devastating short-term and long-term repercussions on growth, development, and health.
Over time, sleep deprivation can suppress immune function and contribute to chronic illness. People who don’t get adequate sleep are also at higher risk for infection.
Your body needs a rhythm of rest for internal repair and restoration. In addition, sleep is a prime time for the body to respond to any invading pathogens or disease agents so you can stay healthy and recover quickly.
Avoid Excess Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system and increase your risk of getting sick.
The combination of excessive alcohol consumption and crowded social settings, where you will be exposed to lots of germs, can be especially burdensome for your immune system.
The CDC and Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as:
- 1 drink or less a day for women
- 2 drinks or less a day for men
If you don’t currently drink alcohol, there’s no reason to start. The health benefits of alcohol are also available via a nutritious diet and other healthy lifestyle habits.
Stay Physically Active
Studies have shown that regular exercise at appropriate intensity levels can benefit the immune system. Physical activity leads to improved immune competence, which helps to control pathogens.
Exercise also positively affects other contributors to immune function by helping you
- Improve sleep
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Relieve stress
How much exercise do you need? Studies show that 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity can boost viral defense. But take care not to do too much; overtraining can have the opposite effect and decrease your viral defense.
Stay within recommended time and intensity ranges for best results. Immune-boosting exercise can be as simple as brisk walking 30-60 minutes five days a week and incorporating strengthening and stretching exercises for all major muscle groups.
Eat a Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Diet
Your diet is probably the principal factor affecting your health, wellness, and immunity. In a world of fast-food chains and conveniently packaged foods, it’s important to remember the old adage “you are what you eat” is true.
Choose a variety of whole, plant-based foods. This will naturally increase your intake of fiber and other nutrients, which will help you maintain a healthy weight and boost your immune system.
A low-fat diet may help increase white blood cells and improve the composition of gut microbes that help with immunity. Conversely, you should limit or avoid the following foods which contribute to inflammation and impair immune response such as:
- Saturated fat
- Excess salt
- Fried and processed foods
There are many benefits to eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and healthy fats. These foods can reduce oxidative stress and damage, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote healthy gut bacteria balance.
Consume Antioxidant-Rich Foods and Supplements
Eating a healthy diet, including the foods mentioned above, will naturally boost your intake of the following vitamins and minerals that have been shown to enhance immune function.
Here are some key nutrients and foods to eat that will ensure you get these immune-boosting powerhouses.
- Beta-carotene: sweet potatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C: red peppers, oranges, broccoli, mangoes, lemons
- Vitamin E: nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli
- Vitamin D: fortified cereals, oily fish, egg yolks, fortified plant-based milks
- Iron: organ meats, beef, poultry; non-heme iron sources include fortified breakfast cereals, beans, lentils, spinach, nuts, seeds
- Selenium: brazil nuts, beef, turkey, chicken, fortified cereals, beans, lentils
- Zinc: nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, lentils
Although you can take supplements to ensure you’re getting an adequate supply of these nutrients, try to get them directly from food when possible.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy balance of microbes in the intestinal tract and strengthen the immune system. Although they still need to be studied in greater depth, probiotics have shown promising results. Prebiotic foods are also crucial for providing the right kind of fiber to feed healthy microbes.
Sources of prebiotics include:
Sources of probiotics include:
- Ferment vegetables such as sauerkraut
Before buying supplements, do your research and talk to your doctor to ensure you’re getting the correct dosage from a reputable source.
You can’t deny the mind-body connection. What we experience mentally and emotionally affects our physical bodies and vice versa. For example, research has definitively shown that chronic and acute stress causes the immune system to go down.
Find healthy ways to manage your stress. According to research, social support and relaxation techniques reduce stress and increase well-being over time.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase inflammation, which impairs immune function and increases susceptibility to disease.
Studies have also shown that obesity can impair immunity with decreased cytokine production, altered lymphocyte and natural killer cell function, and reduced response to antigen stimulation.
Obesity can negatively impact the immune system, but the good news is the other steps mentioned in this post can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Immunity is governed by a complex system, not a single entity. There are no easy solutions to maintain a strong immune system, but there are simple steps you can take today. As you focus on the eight steps presented in this article, you will have a healthier life.