Your immune system is your biggest shield against harmful substances that may threaten, disrupt, and impair your bodily systems and functions. Moreover, your immune system diligently accomplishes its role all year round, safeguarding you from pathogens, parasites, viruses, and even cancer cells.
If there’s one lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s to prioritize achieving and maintaining strong immunity through a healthy lifestyle and sound emotional and mental health. Stress also doesn’t help achieve this goal—this article explains how lowering your stress levels can likewise boost your immunity.
Aside from keeping your stress levels in check, here are science-backed tips to boost your immunity:
1. Maintain A Healthy Diet
The immune system is composed of cells that require adequate nutrition to do their jobs right. The right food choices can also serve as antioxidants to protect healthy cells from free radicals, help produce antibodies, support immune cell growth and activity, and more.
If you can’t meet your daily nutritional requirements from edible food, you can opt for supplements like multivitamins containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Certain supplements work for strengthening your immunity and fighting off infections.
When curating a healthy diet for immunity, look for food containing these nutrients:
• Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, spinach, bell peppers
• Vitamin A: Pumpkins, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables
• Vitamin E: Sunflower oil, peanut butter, almonds
• Vitamin D: Salmon, egg yolks
• Iron: Shellfish, organ meat, legumes
• Folic Acid: Peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
Also, don’t forget that proper hydration is essential for immunity and overall health.
2. Have Enough Sleep and Rest Daily
Many people may be eating right, but this doesn’t exempt them from sickness and poor immunity. If you experience exhaustion and sleep deprivation, it’s time to rethink your lifestyle and prioritize getting sufficient sleep and rest, as these can take a significant toll on your health and immunity.
Getting enough sleep every night can strengthen one’s adaptive or acquired immunity—your second line of defense next to innate immunity. Ideally, designing a healthy bedtime routine with seven to nine hours of sleep may improve your health drastically.
Here are some ways how sufficient sleep and rest boosts your immunity:
• The slowing down of breathing and muscle activity allows immune system recovery.
• Sleeping produces cytokines, a protein vital for the immune system during inflammation and infection.
• Sleep reinforces immune memory, where your immune system recalls how to detect and respond to antigens.
3. Get Physical And Stay Active
There should be a great emphasis on the importance of physical activities. Strengthening your immunity is one of the many proven health benefits of exercise, and it’s not difficult to see why. Exercise and physical activity encourage an increase in blood flow, removal of bacteria in the airways, lessening of inflammation, and temporary increase of body temperature for protection, to name a few.
However, excessive exercise can do more harm than good to your immunity. If you already have an active lifestyle with at least three times a week of physical activity, you’re good to go. On the other hand, if you find it challenging to be consistently active, you can invite an accountability buddy to join your workout sessions.
4. Avoid Smoking And Drinking Alcohol
Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are lifestyle traps that many people fall into. While it may sound easy to quit these addictive vices, you’ll never know the difficulty until you experience the withdrawal symptoms. Thus, it’s imperative to avoid and quit vices that can harm your body in the long run.
Nicotine in cigarettes and e-cigarettes boosts your body’s cortisol levels, reduces the T cells’ response to antigens, and inhibits B cell antibody formation. This increases your lungs’ susceptibility to infection and lung cancer.
Acetaldehyde, the major metabolite found in alcohol, can destroy the protective function called cilia in your lungs. This can put your lungs at risk of viral and bacterial invasion.
Boosting your immunity isn’t a one-day task but a lifetime responsibility. As your immunity decreases with age, it’s even more crucial to maintain it as you get older. No matter your age and health condition, it’s paramount to enhance your immunity with these tips discussed. Remember that only you can take care of your own body, and you should always prioritize your immune system.