How to boost your immune system should top your to-do list these days. At least, it does in the lists of health experts. The view is that a bolstered immune system does well to prevent illnesses and viruses—for example, the ravaging Covid-19.
Although no one says that boosting your immune system is a fail-safe way to be safe from these diseases, medical professionals generally agree that a strengthened immune system fights off foreign foes for very long. Depending on the severity or armory of the opponents laying siege, the body may not be infected at all or recover quickly after infection.
On the other hand—as you may expect—a weakened immune system is inviting to viruses. You can think of it as well. If you were an invader, would you rather war against a nation with a reputable military force? I doubt so. No one attacks America, isn’t it?
Well, that’s the aim here. We are looking to hack your immune system, such that it resists illnesses fiercely for as long as possible until the enemy gives up—or sometimes, is eliminated.
Below, I’ll be mentioning various common ways through which you can have a highly fortified and enhanced defensive system. Here we go…
Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleeping is closely linked with your natural defenses. In fact, there is evidence that insufficient sleep leaves the body more vulnerable to diseases—which is a clear sign of a neutralized immune system.
In a recent study conducted on 160 healthy adults, researchers found out that participants who slept for 6 hours and above daily were at a lower risk of catching a cold compared to participants who slept for lesser hours.
As such, medical experts advise adequate rest to boost your natural defenses. There’s also the suggestion that sufficient sleep, during illness, helps the body heal faster. An adult should sleep for at least 7 hours, teens for at least 10 hours, and children for at least 14 hours per day.
Some of us who have trouble sleeping may have to replace specific sleep etiquettes with others. For example, do away with your cell phone, computer, or screen for about one hour before your bedtime. This is because the blue light emitted from these devices is likely to disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake routine—or circadian rhythm. What else, you should sleep in a dark room, wear a sleep mask, maintain a regular sleep pattern, and exercise often.
Increase Consumption Of Whole Plant Foods
Whole plant foods are rich in antioxidants and nutrients, which may help the body fight harmful pathogens. Such foods are nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, thereby preventing certain diseases—for example, Alzheimer’s, heart conditions and some types of cancer—which are linked to high levels of inflammation.
Likewise, the fiber in whole meals feeds the host of beneficial bacteria in the intestines or your gut microbiome. A strengthened gut microbiome enhances immunity and prevents the entrance of harmful pathogens through the digestive tract.
Lastly, vegetables and fruits contain high levels of nutrients that help to decrease the duration of common illnesses, such as a cold.
Consume More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats found in salmon, olive oil, and other similar foods, help to combat inflammation in the body—thereby bolstering the body’s natural defense to unhealthy pathogens. Although inflammation can be beneficial as it is the body’s natural way to heal, severe inflammation may weaken the immune system.
Olive oil, in particular, has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart conditions. Also, olive oil may help to prevent harmful bacteria and viruses. Chia seeds and salmon also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are useful in fighting inflammation.
Take More Probiotic Supplements or Fermented Foods
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, natto, kefir, and sauerkraut, are rich in probiotics, which are helpful bacteria that populate the digestive tract. Studies prove that a flourishing network of beneficial belly bacteria assists the platelets in distinguishing between invading organisms and normal, healthy cells.
In a study of 126 children that stretched over three months, kids who took 70 ml (2.4 ounces) of fermented milk every day suffered 20% fewer childhood diseases than a group that didn’t. If you are, however, not keen on fermented foods, probiotic supplements are an excellent alternative.
A research conducted on 152 children for 28 days revealed that rhinovirus patients who took Bifidobacterium animalis—a probiotic supplement—daily developed a stronger immune system as well as a lower level of viruses in the nasal mucus in comparison to a control group.
Limit Intake of Added Sugar
Although there is still inadequate evidence, recent studies suggest that refined carbs and added sugars contribute to specific health conditions, such as obesity and overweight, both of which increase the risk of developing critical diseases.
Limiting the consumption of added sugars assists weight-loss and reduces the level of inflammation, and as such, lowers the risk of critical conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
An observation of about 1000 participants revealed that obese persons who used the flu vaccine were more likely to catch flu than fit individuals who received the same vaccine. Even though some argue that this study does not provide solid proof, it is evident that added sugar causes obesity, which consequently suppresses the body’s natural defenses—thus leaving the body defenseless against dangerous intruders.
Experts advise that added sugars should represent just 5% of your daily calorie intake. That’s about 25 grams (2 tablespoonfuls) for an individual with a diet of 2000 calories.
The list on how to boost your immune system continues. There are other recommendations, such as moderate exercises, wise supplementation, stress-level management, and adequate hydration. What matters may be some changes in your lifestyle and dietary preferences. Adopting these above methods may not completely prevent diseases, but you are assured of an excellent and highly active immune system. That’s as much as you can do for yourself.