A healthy immune system is a crucial component of your body’s ability to fight against illness and disease.
We hear this all the time, but what is an immune system really? Your immune system is actually a super complex network of cells in your skin, bone marrow, tissues, organs, white blood cells, proteins, and chemicals. These different and complex components form a system that works together to protect us from the bacterias, viruses, etc., that cause infection, illnesses, and disease.
Thankfully, even though the immune system is complicated, it’s easier than you might think to boost your immune system and keep your body healthy. A few common-sense changes go a long way to strengthening your immune system, so your body is ready to fight off illnesses like the common cold and the flu.
Each of the tips below sounds easy on the surface but can take a lifetime to master. Don’t worry though, I’m here to help guide you and am always here to answer any questions you may have. You don’t have to be perfect on every single point. You just need to try to improve little by little in each of these categories. As you address each of these areas, you’ll notice that you get sick less and recover faster if and when you do fall ill.
The best part is that making these minor adjustments will improve almost every other aspect of your health!
Here are 5 Tips to Strengthen Your Immune System
A healthy diet is key to developing a more robust immune system. Unfortunately, this is much more difficult than it sounds. With so much conflicting information available, it’s hard to know which diet is right for our bodies. Also, while many diets are focused on weight loss, many of the trendy, fad diets focus more on weight loss than improving your health. Many of these diets of the week rely on food avoidance, which can starve your body of essential and beneficial nutrients.
Try to eat a balanced diet that includes whole plant foods, healthy fats, and fermented foods.
The one many of us dread. But I have good news, we’re not talking about crazy overexertion. As little as 30 minutes of regular, daily exercise is all it takes to stimulate your immune system. Pushing yourself too hard when you’re feeling run down could actually lower your immune system. Moderate exercise includes brisk walks, cycling at a steady pace, swimming, and light hiking.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. The key terms are moderate and regular, so try and avoid activities that push you so hard you need a few days off. You want to be as consistent as possible.
Water is often overlooked, but it serves many vital functions that contribute to your overall immune system. When adequately hydrated, you’re better able to sweat toxins and contaminants from your system, and your lymph system can transport helpful white blood cells throughout your system. Staying hydrated also helps your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, so you’ll get more benefits from your healthy diet.
Drink lots of water regularly throughout the day. Try not to wait until you feel thirsty, as sometimes this can mean you are already experiencing some of the effects of slight dehydration.
Get better sleep
While we’re sleeping, our bodies create infection-fighting molecules and heal themselves. Studies have shown that healthy adults who do not get enough sleep are more prone to falling sick than those who are adequately rested. When we don’t get enough sleep, our cortisol levels rise, impairing our immune functions and depleting the reserves we need to fight off or recover from an illness.
Adults should aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night for optimal health. If you can, try to avoid screen time, stressful books, etc., before bedtime for the best sleep possible.
Long periods of stress cause our bodies to produce too much cortisol, which suppresses our immune system’s ability to kick into gear when we need it most. Studies from Carnegie Mellon University found that people who are stressed out more are twice as likely to catch colds. Being in a state of constant stress also distracts us from other important health goals like eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. This causes a downward health spiral that sets us up for illnesses.
Make time for hobbies you enjoy, like walks outdoors, hiking, yoga, and meditation. Our bodies will try to tell us we don’t have time for these things when we’re feeling stressed, but that’s the time we need these activities most.
Summing it up
While our immune systems are complex, intricate systems, boosting and improving them is relatively straightforward…at least on paper. Unfortunately, when we get busy, stressed, or distracted, maintaining the elements of a healthy lifestyle often falls to the wayside. And it’s in these moments of distractions when we most need these elements.
That’s why I am here to help support, guide, and encourage you. Your health and well-being matter to me. Reach out if you have questions or need guidance.