Immune system is your primary line of defense against pathogens and infections. It is an intricate network, involving blood, tissues, organs and bone marrow that works like a sophisticated piece of machinery. For your immune system to operate smoothly and fight infections, every part it includes must work in tandem, balancing each other out.
The question of how to boost your immune system, so that it is primed to ward off infections, becomes pertinent. Here are 8 changes you can bring to your way of living that may bolster your body’s defense mechanisms and build a strong immune system .
How can you fortify your body’s immune system?
Although there is no scientific evidence on how to boost your immune system or increase immunity, what you can do is support your defense mechanisms through good lifestyle and dietary practices, to keep it working optimally. Many times, when life happens, with all its stress and complications, your immune system becomes weaker and needs a natural booster shot or an immune system booster to give it that best shot to protect your body.
Here are 8 ways to boost your immune system and make it stronger!
1.Eat wisely to increase immunity
Your gut is not called the second brain for nothing. A happy and healthy gut translates to a healthy immune system. Include nourishing food like whole grains, fiber rich vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, lean meat, and healthy fats. Fermented food like yogurt, idly or kimchi are also ideal, as they contain gut friendly bacteria which also supports the immune system. The nutrients and antioxidants from such food acts like an immune system booster and helps you increase immunity.
Keeping your body hydrated is also equally important as dehydration can hamper optimal functioning of the body. Limit alcohol and sugary beverages and stick to healthy fluids like water, fresh juices, coconut water etc. So, choose a rainbow diet filled with colorful vegetables and fruits, limit your sugar and refined grain intake, switch to healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and add an adequate amount of proteins to your daily meals to ensure that you have a good immune system.
2.Incorporate exercise and movement in your daily life
Another time-tested way to increase immunity is to ensure that you exercise regularly and don’t lead a sedentary life. Exercise is not just beneficial to lose weight and stay in shape. It also plays a major role in building a . Physical activity releases a hormone called endorphins, that is connected to feelings of pleasure. Less stress translates to a better equipped immune system.
Doing moderate exercise consistently and remaining physically active helps your body to reduce inflammation and helps in regeneration of immune cells, which aids to increase immunity. So, choose an activity that you enjoy, like brisk walking, swimming or join your local gym to ensure that your body gets its daily dose of exercise.
3.Get adequate sleep
Ensuring that your body gets enough restorative sleep is key to building a strong immune system. With current lifestyles being busy and often stressful, the first thing you tend to compromise on is your sleep hours. Over time, this lack of sleep and rest may lead to your body producing the stress hormone cortisol, which can negatively impact your immune system.
Good quality sleep nourishes your body and mind, and helps your body heal and restore itself. The key to ensure restful sleep is to practice mindful sleep hygiene habits, like turning off electronics at least an hour before sleep time, sticking to the same time to turn in daily, having a light, early dinner and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. A full night’s rest gives your body the chance to recharge itself and is one of the best ways how to boost your immune system.
Although this sounds like a tired cliché and is easier said than done, stress is a silent killer. When the body faces a threat or is under stress it releases cortisol, which blocks the immune system from taking over immediately, so that the body is given a chance to fight the immediate threat. When you are constantly stressed, the body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol remain constantly high. That means your body is always in a situation of perceived threat and prevents the immune system from functioning well. So, try to consciously engage in stress relieving activities you enjoy, and incorporate it into your daily schedule to increase immunity.
5.Engage in hygiene practices
Though washing your hands may not look like an immune system booster, it is more powerful than you think. Incorporating basic hygiene practices ensures that your immune system is not unnecessarily compromised. Washing your hands thoroughly, using hand sanitizer in public spaces, masking up, especially during flu season, covering nose and mouth while sneezing and sanitizing afterwards, showering twice a day, especially after workouts etc. are some hygiene practices, which will help you to avoid falling sick, regularly.
6.Avoid or limit toxin intake
One of the often-overlooked ways to boost immunity is by mindfully consuming products that may be harmful for the body in the long run. Heavy smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have a plethora of negative effects on the body, which includes a weakening of the immune system. The body, in such cases, may have to spend all its resources on purifying the toxins, which in turn may affect the functioning of the immune system. Kick off the smoking habit by seeking help and limit your alcohol consumption to pave the way for a healthy immune system.
7.Take an informed call on supplements
Consult your physician to know whether you need supplements to boost up your nutritional quota for the day. Although it’s best to get your nutrients from your food, sometimes it may be possible that you suffer from a nutritional deficiency. It is imperative that the body gets its required dose of nutrients, in the right quantity to increase immunity. A good quality multi vitamin may help you bridge the gap. But take an informed call and do not pop those supplement pills without medical advice.
8.Get the prescribed vaccinations
Consult your physician and stay on top of your vaccine recommendations. Vaccines provide a safe training ground for your immune system, to learn to fight dangerous infections. This means that your immune system is better prepared to fight the infections in case of a full-blown infection, and it also helps your body to heal faster.
There are many ways that you can consciously support your immune system and help it to fight infections. A good immune system is your best possible defense mechanism against falling ill, constantly. Small changes in your life and lifestyle will have a huge impact on how your body responds to and heals from infections. So go ahead and make those good -for -you changes today and enjoy a healthy and active life.