Few ways to strengthen your natural defence systems and boost your immune system
Our body is capable of warding off illness on its own and it does so with the help of our immune system. But keeping our immune system in check is easier said than done. So how to boost your immune system? to start with you can do ao by making certain changes in your diet and in your lifestyle to strengthen your body’s natural defences and help you fight harmful pathogens or disease-causing organisms.
Here are 9 things you can do to boost your immune system
1. Get a good amount of sleep
Immunity and sleep are closely tied. One study consisting of 164 healthy adults showed that those who slept for less than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept for 6 hours or more each night.
When sick, one usually tends to sleep more, this might allow your immune system to fight the illness better. Adequate rest may strengthen your natural immune system.
A healthy adult should try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night, while teens might need 8-10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.
If you find it difficult to sleep, try limiting your screen time for an hour or so before bed as the light emitting from your screen can disrupt your natural wake-sleep cycle.
Another tip might be to sleep in a pitch dark room or use a sleep mask. Also, make sure you go to bed at the same time every night and don’t forget to exercise regularly.
2. Manage stress well
Long term stress can disrupt normal immune cell function and also promote inflammation.
You can try a number of these activities to reduce stress – like meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling and other mindfulness practices.
Relieving anxiety and stress is the key to immune health.
3. Keep yourself hydrated
Hydration is crucial for maintaining overall health even though it doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses.
Dehydration can lead to headaches and affect your performance, mood, focus, concentration, digestion and heart and kidney function. And all of these can increase your susceptibility to illness.
One should always drink enough water or fluid throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Always check to make sure your urine remains pale yellow. Also, remember water does not add to your calories.
Usually older adults begin to lose the urge to drink, as their bodies do not signal thirst adequately. Older adults should drink regularly even if they don’t feel thirsty.
4. Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats are the ones found in olive oil and salmon, it decreases inflammation caused by pathogens by boosting your body’s immune response.
Chronic inflammation can supress your immune system.
Olive oil which is highly anti-inflammatory has been known to decrease the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Also, it may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
5. Take a probiotic supplement or eat more fermented foods
Foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir and natto are rich in beneficial bacteria that populate your tract.
Research suggests that a network of flourishing gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful organisms that invade your body.
If you are someone who does not prefer fermented food much, probiotic supplement is another option.
Studies show that those took probiotic supplements had a stronger immune response and has lower levels of virus in their nasal mucus.
6. Do not add more sugar
Added sugars and refined carbs are known to contribute to overweightness and obesity.
Obesity increases your risk of getting sick, making your body more vulnerable.
Sugar can cause inflammation and so curbing sugar intake can aid in weight loss and reduce your risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
It is advisable to limit your sugar intake to 5% of your daily calories. This approximately equals to 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of sugar.
7. Go for a moderate exercise regularly
Moderate level of exercise daily can boost your immune system.
Regular exercise helps your immune cells regenerate and also help in reducing inflammation.
Studies show that a single session of moderate exercise boosts the effectiveness of vaccines in people who have compromised immune system.
8. Eat more whole plant foods
Plant foods like seeds, legumes, nuts and vegetables are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants that helps combat harmful pathogens.
The fiber in plants feeds your good gut microbes, and improves the community of healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbe improves your immunity and keeps harmful pathogens at bay.
9. Take Supplements if required
Why take supplements?
Plant-based protein powders can add significant calories to your food without increasing the volume and is easily digested by the body than just plain carbs or fats. Plus, protein powders provide you with amino acids – the building blocks of nutrients.
Protein powders are helpful in situations like:
- If your nutrient needs are higher due to certain medical conditions, like organ failure or wounds.
- If swallowing is difficult for you.
- If you’ve been struggling to keep your appetite up.
- And this goes without saying if you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone wanting to gain lean muscle mass.
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