Your immune system protects your body against the invasion of potentially harmful pathogens like viruses and bacteria and at the same time also limits any damage done by noninfectious agents like sunburns.
However, your immune system must perform at its best to protect your body against any harm.
Despite the awareness, we find even the healthiest individuals getting sick now and then.
So, how can you boost your immune system all naturally? Fine-tuning certain aspects of lifestyle and health routine including diet and stress management can help you support the defense mechanism of your immune system against the attack of viruses, bacteria, or any other pathogens that may cause conditions like seasonal flu and the common cold.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
It is essential to follow an antioxidant-rich diet to support the immune system. Your meals must be abundant in vegetables and fruits containing antioxidants to combat free radicals which are chemical byproducts known for damaging the DNA and suppressing the immune system.
Fats vs Saturated Fats
It is also essential to choose healthy fats over saturated fats. Foods such as flaxseeds, krill oil, and fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for a healthy immune system.
On the contrary, you should cut back on the consumption of meat and dairy products that contain mainly saturated fats. Choosing the right fat can help increase the production of compounds in your body that help regulate immunity.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It also helps your cells to operate efficiently, assists your body in eliminating wastes, and allows efficient processing of food by the digestive system.
Garlic & Ginger
Include beneficial foods like garlic and ginger in your meals regularly. Garlic is well known for its anti-bacterial and virus-fighting properties. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory resource.
Certain herbs like AHCC, astragalus, Andrographis, elderberry, and echinacea are believed to help reduce the severity as well as the duration sickness if taken at the earliest when symptoms arise.
Regular moderate-intensity exercises can extremely benefit your immune system. A study conducted in 2019 suggests that moderate exercises help mobilize the cells of the immune system that in turn helps the body to defend against pathogens and the growth of cancer cells. Regularly engaging in moderate exercises ensures less systemic inflammation and fewer illnesses.
Some people prefer intense, vigorous activities like running. Such activities may temporarily weaken the immune function making you more susceptible to viral infections. further, hydration and proper nutrition are essential with prolonged, intense exercises.
Focus on Stress Reduction
A landmark review of 293 studies involving 18,941 participants in 2004 suggests that chronic stress can harm your immunity. The review advocates that while exposure to stressors for a short-term can rev up the defense mechanism of the immune system, prolonged exposure to stress results in the wearing of the immune system thereby increasing your vulnerability to illnesses.
Chronic stress results in elevated levels of the steroid hormone cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol block the immune system from responding to pathogens and protecting your body from potential threats like germs. Always keep a check on your stress levels. Indulge in relaxation practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing regularly.
Get a Sound Sleep
Your body regenerates and heals itself when you are asleep. Therefore, it is essential to get healthy eight hours of sleep every night for a sound immune response. Studies suggest that people who get less than six hours of sleep every night or people with sleep disorders are more likely to suffer cold and other respiratory infections.
As per the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can ward off many illnesses by simply maintaining clean hands. Make it a habit of properly washing your hands with soap and warm water before eating or preparing food, after coughing and sneezing, after using the bathroom, and after touching any public surfaces.
Keep a Check on the Symptoms of Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions like heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and asthma can weaken the immune system making you more prone to infections. Therefore, you should watch for signs and symptoms of these chronic conditions and stay on top of the necessary medication to manage them well. Develop healthy habits to keep the symptoms at bay.