5 Best Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System
Your immune system is your inner defence against infection, working much like an army lying in wait to fight off invaders. When that system gets weak, you’re at risk of getting everything from the common cold to sepsis. Like any effective military force, you need to occasionally strengthen your immune system (the military force) to keep your body (the army) strong. It’s up to you to find ways to power up your army, because a sturdy defence system keeps you healthy. Consider these five great tips to boost your immune system:
1. Take Time Off When You Can
Overworking leads to two things:
Both are detrimental to the immune system. Overworking forces your army to mobilise to protect critical areas, and that constant call to attention wears it down. The Health and Safety Executive estimates around 1,380 out of every 100,000 workers in the UK suffer from work-related stress. There are 234,000 new cases reported each year. Chronic stress comes from persistent work overload and has a direct effect on the immune system.
So what can you do to strengthen your immune system? Simple – take the time off you need to reduce your stress levels and give your immune system a much-needed break. Kick back during your free time each day, enjoy your days off, and don’t be afraid to go on holiday. Your immune system will thank you.
2. Balance Your Diet
Food is the fuel that your immune system needs to thrive, but not all sustenance is equal. Certain foods will naturally boost your immune system, while others work against the process. Sugar, for example, will curb the cells you need to fight bacteria. Every time you drink something sweet or eat candy, it takes a few hours for your immune system to regain its strength.
Focus on foods that are rich in nutrients, especially vitamin C and E, beta-carotene and zinc. Most fruits and vegetables fit into this category, but the brighter-coloured ones are the better choice. A healthy, balanced diet will strengthen your immune system and greatly benefit your body in many ways.
3. Add the Right Supplements
The most effective way to naturally strengthen your immune system is through food, but you may reinforce your army further by selecting the right dietary supplements. Look beyond the daily multi-vitamin and handpick products high in vitamin C and D3. The right combination of supplements can boost your immune system, help fight ageing and keep your bones strong.
4. Get Social
Laughing is a proven way to enhance white blood cell production, but just being around others helps eases the levels of stress hormones in your blood. There is evidence that people who spend all their time alone have weaker immune responses.
It doesn’t have to be every day or a roomful of people, either. Just make time for family and friends on a regular basis. The human body needs that connection to thrive. Without it, you are always in a state of anxiety, wearing out your immune system and increasing your risk of illness.
Staying social also improves your mood and helps you sleep better, too—both perks to further boost your immune system further.
5. Get Your Sleep
Ultimately, sleep is the most effective way to strengthen your immune system. Studies show that well-rested individuals have stronger protection against the flu and other types of illness. Sleep also reduces stress levels and inflammation. When you feel run down because you have not slept, you are more likely to catch a cold or the flu, so aim for at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
From getting 40 winks a night to just getting out of the house once in a while, you make lifestyle choices that affect your immune system health significantly. Start with your diet, add some helpful dietary supplements, and find ways that will boost your immune system in an effective way.
WebMD, 6 Immune System Busters & Boosters, Melinda Ratini, DO, MS, July 2015
University of Maryland Medical Center, Stress, Harvey Simon, MD, January 2013
American Psychological Association, First-year College Students Who Feel Lonely Have a Weaker Immune Response To The Flu Shot, May 2005
Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, The effect of humor on short-term memory in older adults: a new component for whole-person wellness, Bains GS et al., 2014
Writer Bio: Darla F. is a full-time freelance writer and healthcare professional who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.
- Darla Ferrara