The body’s immune system is remarkable in so many ways. Yet it can be weighed down by bodily malfunctions that are many times controllable. These include poor circulation, inflammation, and dehydration, to name a few. In other words, when the body is out of whack somewhere, the immune system is likely weakened in some way also.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best thing you can do to strengthen your immune system and keep it where it needs to be in order to fully function.
Here are six tips on how you can help strengthen your immune system.
Maintain a Healthy, Immune-Boosting Diet
Be deliberate about what foods you put in your body. This is the greatest way to strengthen your immune system and help support it long-term.
- Add Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Your Diet. Adding antioxidants to your diet helps your immune system by protecting cells from free radicals and also helps lessen inflammation. There are many foods with high levels of antioxidants, so you have choices. Examples of these include: berries, nuts, seeds, spinach, beets, and beans.
- Consume Foods Higher in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin. High concentrations can be found in oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. Since the body cannot store this vitamin, include sources in your daily diet.
- Eat more fish. Oily fish helps the body’s immune system in two ways. They contain the fatty acid omega-3s, which assist in the regulation of the immune system. They also contain protein, which is needed to build cells for boosting your immune system. Good sources include mackerel, sardines, and herring.
- Consume healthy fats. Healthy fats have been found to help reduce inflammation in the body. Try adding salmon and olive oil.
- Limit Sugar Intake. Too much sugar ingested into the body can lead to chronic health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. These all can suppress the immune system.
By staying vigilant about what you eat, and maintaining a healthy body weight, you will be giving your immune system more freedom to do what it was meant to do without impediment.
Engage in Immune-Enhancing Exercise
Exercise contributes to overall good health. With a healthy overall body comes a healthy, strong immune system. Exercise also improves circulation in the body, allowing immune system cells to coast through the body freely and smoothly.
Moderate levels of exercise may help reduce inflammation in the body and assist in the regeneration of immune cells as well. Consider adding one of these to your weekly schedule.
- brisk walking
- light hiking
Dehydration makes the body more prone to illness. The benefits of water are numerous and invaluable to the functioning of the body, including your immune system. Water not only removes toxins; it also helps to carry oxygen to cells throughout the body. This helps your internal systems function properly.
For an extra immunity boost, add lemon to your water. Another option is to sip on hot tea, which provides more helpful antioxidants for your body
Reducing your stress level is key to strengthening your immune system. Long-term stress causes imbalances in immunity cell function as well as inflammation. Try any of the following to help alleviate your stress level:
- spend time in nature
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
While we sleep, the body restores itself. Without adequate sleep, the body doesn’t have a chance to catch up with the day’s stressors.
The accepted goal is seven hours of sleep a night. This is often difficult for many, so changing nighttime habits may be beneficial.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Research indicates that an overconsumption of alcohol can decrease the immune system’s ability to react, thus limiting the body’s effectiveness at fighting off invaders.
If you drink alcohol, practice moderation. The standard guidelines are for men to limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day, while women are recommended to have just one.
Living an overall healthy lifestyle provides the biggest boost to your immune system. By taking steps to enhance your diet, increase your level of exercise, avoid dehydration, alleviate stress, sleep well, and limit alcohol intake, you are giving your immune system the best chance to do its job efficiently, and keep you safe from those viruses, bacteria and other types of pathogens just waiting to invade.