Posted on Nov 29, 2022, 3 p.m.
These days, people are willing to try just about anything to improve their health and immune system. It's no wonder, as the recent pandemic showed exactly how important building a strong defense system is. The fact that the immune system deteriorates with age only supports this fact further. However, contrary to popular belief, improving your defenses does not require a daily regimen of dozens of pills. The secret lies in adopting healthy habits that enhance your immune system, and that's exactly what we will discuss in this article.
Enhance your immune system with these healthy habits
Before we proceed to habits that enhance your immune system, let's back up and learn what the immune system really is. The immune system, for starters, isn't a single organ like the heart or lungs. Your spleen, lymph system, bone marrow, blood cells, antibodies, and more are all part of it. Because of this, we classify it as a system, although a highly complex one.
That is to say; there isn't a silver bullet to boost your immune system and make it more effective than everyone else's. However, this doesn't mean there aren't ways to improve it. In fact, it can be quite simple if you work on picking up some of these healthy habits.
#1 Make sure you get enough sleep
It's not that we don't want to listen to science when it advises us to increase our sleep time. In all honesty, life is hectic. However, not getting enough sleep could undermine our immune system's ability to fight off infections and inflammation. Proteins called cytokines are released by the immune system during sleep and have multiple functions, one of which is to promote your sleep.
Therefore, your body won't have as much time to make these disease-fighting proteins if you don't get enough sleep. Sleep is definitely one of the most important immune system boosters. Though new evidence reveals that it differs by individual, most experts recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. The good idea is to create a sleep log and monitor your slumber.
#2 Don't go overboard with supplements
If you want to give your immune system a boost, you might hear at some point along the way that vitamin and mineral supplements can help. However, don't put too much stock in that advice. There is no perfect combination, and there is still a lot of research to be done, but some evidence suggests that certain vitamins, minerals, and herbs help increase immune response.
If you're considering taking a supplement to help your immune system, consult a medical professional first. It's possible you're low on Vitamin D and would benefit greatly from taking a supplement. Perhaps you will discover that you are supplement-free and that taking extra vitamins and minerals is a waste of money.
#3 Workout regularly
In general, exercise has positive effects on physical and mental health, including the promotion of leaner muscles, a stronger heart and lungs, and a lower body mass index. It also encourages a healthier immune system, which boosts resistance to illness, decreases the likelihood of getting sick, and calms down inflammation.
Working out improves immune function by increasing blood circulation and lymphatic responsiveness. Exercise, in a sense, sends out the cavalry, or more white blood cells, at a faster rate to patrol the body. In addition, it initiates the deployment of immune cells with the specific mission of eliminating those infections.
#4 Stay away from smoking and drinking
The fact that smoking is harmful to one's immune system is common knowledge. What may come as a surprise, though, is how destructive cyclone smoking actually is. It can rip away delicate lung tissue, making you more likely to get bronchitis or pneumonia. Tar and other chemicals found in cigarettes and cigars can inhibit the immune system's ability to produce antibodies and even kill them. Therefore, if you are a smoker looking for healthy ways to boost your immunity, the answer is simple - quit.
Alcohol can also have devastating effects on your immunity. In fact, research suggests that alcoholic drinks are particularly fond of killing cells in the immune system. This is especially true if you are struggling with alcohol addiction. If that's the case, you probably even noticed that your immunity isn't as half as good as it used to be. Take that as a sign that it's time to start feeling better. Trust us; you'll instantly start feeling the health benefits of sobriety.
#5 Focus on what you eat
You probably already know that you can strengthen your immunity with food. Fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products are cornerstones of a healthy diet. On the other hand, saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars are some of the biggest enemies of our health.
Optimal immune function is dependent on a number of nutrients, all of which are provided by a balanced diet. However, keep in mind that some vitamins and minerals, if consumed in excess, might cause health problems. If you think you might benefit from dietary supplements, don't take them on your own but make sure you discuss the matter with your doctor first.
#6 Lower your stress levels
Stress produces inflammation in the body, and inflammation weakens the immune system. But how can anyone get through a day without feeling some amount of stress? Especially in such a volatile world? It's difficult, sure, but there are ways to cope and keep your stress levels to a minimum. Steps like retaining a positive attitude, acknowledging that some circumstances are simply beyond your control, and adopting relaxing practices like meditation and yoga.
Now that you know how easy it is, we hope you'll start implementing healthy habits into your lifestyle that enhance your immune system even today. The best part is that not only will you strengthen your defense system, but you'll improve your overall physical and mental health.
This article was written for WHN by Levi Stephenson, who is a content manager at harmonyridgerecovery.com. As a recovering alcoholic, he appreciates the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, so he enjoys writing and thus raising awareness about it. In his spare time, he volunteers at his local hospital and enjoys taking long walks with his dog, Bolt.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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