In this day and age, health is on everyone’s mind. This is to be expected because we can all agree that life is difficult to enjoy without good health. In other words, good health is not possible without the immune system. It comprises a vast network of cells and tissues that are constantly on the lookout for invaders. Think of it as the body’s white knight. According to expert advice, there are preventive measures you can take to help your immune system do its job properly. Relaxation, stress management, and quality sleep are some of them.
The immune system plays a vital role in our lives as it protects the body from germs, harmful substances and cell changes that can make us sick. This remarkable system is made up of various organs, cell networks, tissues and proteins that team up whenever there is a threat. As long as the immune system continues to operate smoothly, we can go on about our daily lives without any major issues. However, if it stops working properly (because it’s fighting aggressive germs, for example), we’ll likely get sick.
Fortunately, some germs only make us sick the first time we come into contact with them. They can manifest as typical childhood diseases such as chickenpox. Of course, some people will have a stronger immune system than others. While genetics plays a role, certain studies suggest that the immune system’s strength is largely determined by non-heritable factors.
Given the current health crisis, many people wonder if having a good immune system will protect them from the virus. Although hand washing, social distancing, and self-isolation remain the only ways to actively prevent contagion to date, boosting the immune system will be helpful in the long-term.
The Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System
To date, there is no specific food or miraculous pill that is guaranteed to boost the immune system. Medical professionals advise people not to rush and buy products that promise to enhance your immune system as there isn’t solid evidence that they work. They recommend that you stick to stick to mundane, traditional methods that have been proven to be effective. However, if you get sick regularly, you should contact a health provider to get expert advice on the best course of action. In the meantime, here are five steps you can add to your routine:
Keep stress levels on check
You may have an upcoming deadline or exams have you stressed out. At this point, you can barely think about anything else and suddenly, you fall ill. According to psychologists in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, the state of mind has a significant impact on a person’s physical health.
The link between stress and the immune system became a major subject of research in the early 80s. Psychologists and immunologists partnered together to study a group of students practicing medicine. They discovered that each year, the students’ immunity weakened under the stress that comes with the exam period. In fact, they had fewer natural killer cells that are responsible for fighting tumors and viral infections.
Further research continued to highlight the connection between stress, loneliness, anxiety, and weak immune systems. Some experts have said that stress is responsible for approximately 90% of all diseases. Despite all the data collected, there’s no definitive answer as to how stress impacts the immune system. One theory states that under constant stress, the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system. This, in turn, releases an array of hormones such as cortisol that help your body respond to danger or stress, but decreases your immunity at the same time. Although we cannot fully eliminate stress from our lives, there are several ways to cope with it.
Meditate! Spare 20 to 25 minutes of your time. Find a quiet place and sit down comfortably with your back straight. Close your eyes. Then, focus on your breathing. Where do you feel your breath most? In your nose? Or perhaps, in your belly? Continue following your breath for the next minutes. Always remember to breathe in and out slowly, focusing on your body sensations.
If you are having issues holding your concentration, Synctuition is here to help. Our program combines meditation with the latest 3D-sound technology to help you cope with stress’ negative effects. Every day, you’ll listen to a beautiful audio journey containing binaural beats, gamma waves, ASMR sounds, and entrainment frequencies. As you listen, you will enter a deep state of relaxation, away from stress, fears, and negative thoughts.
Exercise lifts your mood and it can also boost your immune system. According to a meta-review, moderate exercise improves immune regulation, delaying the onset of age-related dysfunction. And, although we don’t know how exactly exercise increases your immunity to certain illnesses, there are multiple theories, for example:
- Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Under constant stress, your chances of falling ill increase. By lowering stress hormones with exercise, you are protecting yourself from possible illnesses.
- During and after exercising, your body temperature rises. This increase may prevent bacteria from growing and help the body fight infection more efficiently.
- Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. In turn, this may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
However, it’s worth mentioning that excessive exercise can weaken your immune system and expose you to infections and diseases. In some cases, intensive exercise can cause stress which, as previously mentioned, is a killer of cell activity. Therefore, if you are thinking about exercising, try to not overdo it.
Not all exercise routines fit the individual needs of each person. This is why, if you have a physical disability or health complication, you should consult with an expert first. If you are able to exercise without any restraint, dedicate 30 minutes of your time every day. If you are not able to leave your home, moderate exercise videos are a good way to start.
Watch your diet
Food is the provider of your strength. In fact, evidence suggests that nutrition can influence immune strength and susceptibility to infectious diseases. A low-fat diet with plenty of vegetables, for example, may help give the immune system a boost. The immune system depends on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat viruses, bacteria, and other treats. People who follow this type of diet show more effective white blood cells due to their high intake of vitamins and the minimized intake of fat.
According to a study by the University of Bonn, the immune system reacts to high fat and high-calorie diet in a similar way to a bacterial infection. In the long-term, unhealthy food makes the body’s defenses more aggressive. This means that inflammation towards innate immune stimulation is more pronounced. Finally, there’s a greater risk of developing arteriosclerosis and diabetes.
These and many other studies suggest that healthy eating is much more than a trend — it’s a necessity. If you are looking forward to strengthening your immune system, reviewing your diet is a good way to start.
Even though it is always best to consult specialists, there are a couple of tips you can follow. For example, eat more fruit and vegetables per day; minimize the consumption of artificial sweeteners; replace chips and snacks with nuts and add two glasses of water to your daily intake.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”, said Thomas Dekker. This is absolutely true. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. What’s more, lack of sleep can also impact the recovery speed if you do get sick.
Sleep is much more than simply resting. During sleep, your immune system releases cytokines, proteins that mostly help to promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re stressed out. Sleep deprivation slows down the production of these protective proteins. Additionally, antibodies and infection-fighting cells are reduced in periods of lack of sleep.
To conclude, we all need sleep to stay healthy and functional. Adults need seven to eight hours of good sleep per night. Teenagers need nine to ten hours and school-aged children may need ten or more hours of sleep. Of course, everyone is different and some people actually struggle to fall asleep and get the quality rest they need.
This is not an easy question to answer. However, you can try to: avoid drinking caffeinated beverages by the end of the day, minimize alcohol consumption, optimize your bedroom environment, and relax and clear your mind during the evening with Synctuition.
Boost your vitamin D levels
Vitamin has multiple roles in the body. In addition to promoting healthy bones and teeth and regulating insulin levels, vitamin D supports your immune system. According to a 2018 review of existing research, vitamin D had a protective effect against the influenza virus in some people. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to severe health consequences including depression, cancer, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness. Therefore, if you are looking forward to staying healthy, you could work on those vitamin D levels.
The only way to know whether your vitamin levels are low is by taking a blood test. If necessary, a health expert may recommend you to take a vitamin D supplement. Another way to boost your vitamin D levels is by taking a walk under the sun for 10 to 15 minutes whenever the weather conditions are adequate. You can also add vitamin D-rich foods such as tuna, cod liver oil, salmon, beef liver, egg yolks, swordfish, and sardines to your diet.
Stay Healthy: Act Now!
There are ways to enhance the body’s immune response. If you look forward to remaining healthy, you could take action today by following the tips listed above. You can also try Synctuition, the ultimate relaxation program which has been designed to relax your body and by. By listening to Synctuition’s sound journeys, you will effectively manage and reduce the dangerous effects of stress, which often weaken the immune system. If you are feeling worried about your health, we are here to help you by providing the most effective and accessible relaxation program in the world.