Your immune system and how you care for yourself go hand in hand. In fact, your daily habits can play a critical role in fostering healthy immunity. Some things you do can wreak havoc on your immune function, while others can enhance your natural defenses.
The immune system is a complex network of organs, tissues, and cells that helps the body fight diseases and infections. It is not a single entity but a system of many parts. And to function superbly, it requires harmony and balance.
Following healthy-living strategies is probably the single best step you can take to keep your immune system functioning properly. For a little help, here are five habits to adopt to keep your natural defenses fit and ready.
Eat A Nutritious Diet
Remember that what we eat plays a significant role in how well our immune systems are able to fight off infections and diseases. Generally, experts advise eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Below are immune-boosting foods you should keep in mind.
This beneficial bacteria is essential for both immune and gut health. Take note that 70% to 80% of the immune cells can be found in the gut. According to some studies, probiotics have been shown to help prevent and treat seasonal allergies.
Other research suggests that these live bacteria might have some positive impact against viral infections and immune-related diseases. However, not all probiotic products work for the immune system or allergies.
The effects of each product largely depend on what bacterial strains it has. The common strains include:
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus paracasei Shirota
- Saccharomyces boulardii
There are several ways to take probiotics, through the food you eat or supplements you take. Which dose and form you need to take will depend on your needs. Make sure to talk with your doctor.
This mineral helps produce immune cells in the body. It plays an indispensable role in mitigating infectious diseases’ severity, risk, and duration. Zinc can be found in the food we eat.
Excellent food sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, chickpeas, cashews, and oysters. What’s more, zinc is available in supplement form, as well, such as tablets and pills.
Antioxidants can be found in foods that help keep the damage under control caused by free radicals. Also, your body makes these substances naturally. Including high amounts of antioxidants in your diet can strengthen and protect your immune system against free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can ruin your body tissues and lead to oxidative stress. Good food sources of antioxidants include:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens
- Red cabbage
- Sweet potatoes
- Red grapes
This vitamin is a powerful and essential antioxidant. It supports restraints that keep bacterias and germs from entering the body. What’s more, Vitamin C supports immune cells and helps kill bacteria that get in.
The following foods are good sources of Vitamin C:
- Leafy greens
- Bell peppers
- Tropical fruits
- Citrus fruits
Note that dietary sources are often not enough to get the benefits for immune health completely. You may need to take Vitamin C supplements in smaller doses. Talk with your doctor to determine your needs. Look for sites that offer prescription vouchers, such as BuzzRx.com, to help you save on your medications.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is vital for your heart, brain, and immune system. With that said, it is critical to log enough sleep, which is typically 7-8 hours for the average adult. Otherwise, your Natural Killer (NK) cells dramatically decline, and your inflammatory cytokines that cause a few health issues increase.
Follow good sleep habits, such as keeping the room dark and cool. Also, be consistent with your wake and sleep times. It might be a good idea to limit your caffeine consumption, as well. Opt for decaffeinated versions of coffee and tea instead. Another thing, limit sodas, spicy foods, and alcohol at night.
You know you need to break a sweat. If you need a good reason to move, know that the immune cells in your body build up when you exercise. Regular exercise not only contributes to good immune health, but it also helps you lose some weight, lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, and protects against many different diseases.
Indeed, it is a pillar of healthy living. However, excessive exercise should be avoided. According to a study, vigorous and intense workouts could have an adverse, temporary impact on your immune system. So, stick with moderate exercises, such as walking two miles in thirty minutes or going up and down the stairs for twenty minutes.
There are many reasons not to smoke. One of them is to keep your immune system strong and formidable. Remember that phlegm accumulates in the airways and gives bacterias a breeding ground to propagate when you smoke.
Undoubtedly, quitting smoking helps strengthen the immune system. Once it’s no longer exposed to nicotine, tar, and other chemicals found in cigarettes, the immune system will rebound.
Meditation can help you cope with your daily stress and find your zen. Take note that stress has been associated with inflammation, making you more susceptible to infection, weakening the immune system, and causing undesirable consequences on your physical and mental health.
You can wash away some of the worries and stress from the day with several minutes of mediation a day. Also, practice some breathing exercises to create a sense of calm in your body.
Your body’s innate immune system is the first line of defense against viruses, infections, and diseases. A healthy immune system keeps us from harm by first forging a barrier that stops antigens, free radicals, and invaders from entering the body. The immune system generates protein, white blood cells, and other chemicals that fight off and knock down these substances if they get in. That’s why it is critical to start making your immune system a priority.
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