When you want to prevent flu, colds, and other infections, you need to start by boosting your immune system. There are certain lifestyle practices and foods that will significantly increase your immunity. However, understand that it isn’t as easy as it seems. You will need to make a few sacrifices if you want to strengthen your body’s immunity naturally to help fight disease-causing organisms and harmful pathogens.
1. Get sufficient sleep
Getting sufficient sleep will help strengthen your immunity naturally. It is also advisable to get lots of rest when sick to allow your immune system to fight the illness effectively.
Understand that infants need 14 hours of sleep, teens need 8-10 hours, while adults need at least 7 hours. However, what happens when you are having trouble sleeping? Try limiting your screen time before bedtime. The blue light from TVs, computers, and phones disrupt your body’s wake-sleep cycle.
You could also use a sleep mask and darken your room to get better sleep. Ensure that you go to bed at the same time to ensure that you have a regular sleeping pattern. Exercising regularly should also help to improve your sleep.
2. Eat a lot of whole plant foods
Most people don’t have a clear understanding of what professionals mean by whole plant foods. If you fall within this category, then you have come to the right place. Whole plant foods include:
Understand that these whole plant foods are rich in both antioxidants and nutrients. You, therefore, get the upper hand when fighting against harmful pathogens. The antioxidants help your body to decrease inflammation.
Your body contains unstable compounds referred to as free radicals that cause inflammation. Antioxidants work by combating the buildup of free radicals in your body. Now, chronic inflammation is associated with several health conditions, including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Finally, vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients, including vitamin C, which significantly reduces the duration of the common cold.
3. Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats found in salmon and olive oil may boost your immune system response to combating pathogens. Eating healthier fats ensures that there is a decreased inflammation in your body. Yes, low-level inflammation is expected when injured or stressed. However, chronic inflammation will suppress your immune system over time.
Olive oil and salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that will help your body fight harmful viruses and bacteria.
4. Limit stress
When in stress, your body has elevated levels of cortisol. Your body relies on hormones such as cortisol during stressful events. When your body kicks into the ‘fight or flight’ mode, cortisol will ensure that your immune system is prevented from responding.
Your body, therefore, gets the chance to react accordingly to the immediate stressor without your immunity system getting in the way. However, long-term stress will lead to chronically elevated levels of cortisol, which is not ideal.
Your immune system gets blocked from acting immediately to protect your body from potential threats. Ensure that you keep stress under control to help boost your immune system naturally. To reduce stress levels, try engaging in activities that you love, such as playing golf and fishing.
5. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is the best way of combating chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. According to a report published in April 2018 by Frontiers in Immunology, regular exercise will also help combat bacterial and viral infections.
While exercising, your body also releases endorphins, which help you manage stress effectively. As stated earlier, managing stress is an excellent way of boosting your immune system.
Exercising outside, when possible, ensures that your immune system benefits even more. Spending a few minutes in nature lowers blood pressure, supports mood, reduces inflammation, and boosts your immune system.
6. Moderate alcohol intake
Did you know that a high amount of alcohol has several adverse health effects, including a lowered immune system? Understand that when you take a lot of alcohol, then your body is preoccupied with detoxifying the system.
In most cases, your body won’t bother to help with everyday immune system functions. According to the Journal of Alcohol Research, high alcohol consumption will weaken the body’s ability to combat infection while slowing down the recovery time.
7. Avoid cigarettes
Cigarettes are just as harmful to your immunity as alcohol. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, cadmium, and nitrogen oxides. All of these dangerous chemicals will negatively impact the function and growth of immune cells.
Did you know that smoking worsens bacterial and viral infections? According to the CDC, smoking leads to an elevation in lung infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. The good news is that several resources could help you kick out the smoking habit. Consider nicotine replacement products, counseling, behavioral therapy, and prescription non-nicotine medications.
8. Limit added sugars
According to recent studies, added sugars contribute significantly to obesity and overweight issues. Weight issues will substantially increase the risk of getting sick. Several studies have revealed that individuals suffering from obesity are more likely to get illnesses such as the flu.
Reducing the intake of added sugars will also help aid weight loss while decreasing inflammation. Understand that type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease will weaken your immune system significantly. Limiting the intake of added sugars is, therefore, an essential part of ensuring you boost your immune system naturally.
9. Stay hydrated
Although hydration doesn’t protect your body from viruses and germs, preventing dehydration ensures that your overall health is maintained.
Did you know that dehydration hinders physical performance and causes headaches? When dehydrated, your body’s mood, focus, kidney, and heart functions are negatively impacted. When these complications occur, then you are highly susceptible to other illnesses.
Ensure that you drink a lot of fluid every day to help boost your immune system naturally. Understand that water is free of sugar, calories, and additives.
10. Keep chronic conditions under control
Chronic conditions, including heart disease, asthma, and diabetes, will affect your immune system. There is also an increased risk of infections, which is not ideal. For example, a person with type 2 diabetes needs to manage blood sugar properly to avoid creating an inflammatory response that weakens the immune system
On that note, people with chronic conditions have to take better care of their bodies. Managing chronic conditions will help reserve enough energy to fight off new infections. Incorporating healthy habits, doctor visits, and medications is the key to keeping chronic conditions on check.
11. Eat lots of citrus fruits
Have you ever wondered why people turn to vitamin C whenever they catch a cold? This is because vitamin C helps boost the immune system significantly. According to experts, vitamin C increases white blood cell production to help your body fight infections.
Understand that all citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C. You, therefore, get a large variety of options to choose from including:
However, your body doesn’t store or produce vitamin C. you, therefore, have to incorporate grapefruits into your diet. This should be hard, considering you have lots of options to choose from, depending on your preference.
Although all these dietary and lifestyle changes might seem like too much, they are vital in boosting your immune system. Understand that having a robust immunity system shields us from developing several diseases and illnesses.
Staying hydrated, reducing sugar intake, getting sufficient sleep, exercising regularly, and managing stress levels will strengthen your immunity system.