10 Simple Ways To Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. One part of the immune system is called humoral immunity. It consists of antibodies and proteins made by special B lymphocytes (white blood cells) in response to a foreign substance called an antigen. Antibodies attach to antigens on bacteria or viruses and alert other parts of the immune system to attack and destroy them.
In addition to humoral immunity, the body has a second defense mechanism called cell-mediated immunity. T lymphocytes (also known as T cells) carry this type of immunity, which attack and destroy foreign substances directly. T cells also produce substances that control other parts of the immune system and regulate its activity.
Some people have weak humoral or cell-mediated immunity for genetic reasons; others lose immune function because of age; still others develop diseases that disrupt the immune system’s ability to function correctly.
The immune system is the body’s natural defense against illness and disease. To have a solid and robust system, we need to ensure that our bodies have the right conditions to fight off viruses and bacteria effectively.
Here are some simple ways you can boost your immune system:
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants.
Think colorful fruits and vegetables – blueberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables are all great antioxidants that help boost the immune system by flushing out harmful toxins from the body.
- Stay hydrated
Our bodies need water to function properly and stay healthy. When we are dehydrated, our internal organs do not work as well. The best rule of thumb is to drink about eight glasses per day depending on the gender, how active you are, or what you eat (i.e., salty foods increase water needs).
- Eat a balanced diet.
A balanced diet needs to include all the food groups – fruit and vegetables, bread, rice, potatoes and pasta (carbohydrates), milk and dairy foods, meat, fish, nut,s eggs, and alternatives, and foods containing fat and sugar.
You should try to eat a wide variety of different foods as each type of food provides a range oothernt nutrients. Eating healthy is essential, but only one factor in building up your immune system.
- Stay active
Your immune system needs fuel to do its job correctly, which means eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise. If you don’t eat enough good food or get enough exercise, your immune system will weaken.
- Reduce stress levels
Stress suppresses the immune system, so you must try to reduce stress levels in your life as much as possible. It’s not always easy, though — so where does that leave you? The answer is meditation and mindfulness practices like yoga. These have been proven by science repeatedly to help reduce stress levels, promote relaxation, and ultimately boost the immune system. You don’t have to master yoga poses (unless you want to), but simply practicing mindfulness helps too.
Sleep is an essential part of maintaining good health, and it can be instrumental in fighting off illness. During sleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines that help fight infections. Some cytokines increase when you are sick or have an infection. Some studies have shown that if you do not get enough sleep, you may produce fewer cytokines, making it harder for your body to fight off disease. To help your immune system work at its best, try to get 7–8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep rejuvenates both mind and body and helps restore the energy levels necessary to carry out daily activities.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables.
Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help support a healthy immune system because they are packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, folate (folic acid), selenium, beta-carotene, zinc, and iron. These all help to maintain an optimal functioning immune system. A diet rich in plant foods has been linked with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes which can also decrease your risk of developing cancer.
- Exercise regularly.
Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk or jog every day to improve your cardiovascular health, or it can be much more rigorous, like weight training at the gym.
- Get adequate sleep.
Sleep is an integral part of maintaining good health, and it can be instrumental in fighting off illness. During sleep, your body produces proteins that help fight infections. Some studies have shown that if you do n’tget enough sleep, you may produce fewer cytokines. To help your immune system work at its best, try to get 7–8 hours of sleep per night.