Your immune system performs a great job of defending your body against diseases. But just like other parts of your body, it needs your care and attention to continue functioning properly. So what can you actually do to boost your immune system?
The idea of boosting your immune system is easier said than done. Since it’s precisely a “system” and not just a single entity, it needs harmony and balance to function well. In fact, your attitude, what you eat and the exercise you get all play a significant role in strengthening your immunity.
Below are good habits you could practice daily to ensure a healthy immune system.
1. Take the right supplements
The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” rings true. Eating foods rich in vitamins can aid your immune system in fighting off diseases. But even if you try to eat healthy as much as you can, there are still gaps in your diet that you need to fill.
Taking supplements in the form of natural immune boosters enable you to load up on vital nutrients that you can’t easily get from the food you eat. If you want to keep illnesses at bay, taking a supplement as prescribed is a good habit.
2) Lessen your sugar intake
A mere 10 teaspoons of sugar is enough to impair the capacity of your white blood cells to kill or deactivate bacteria. Choose a natural sweetener instead, such as the one made from the stevia plant, to strengthen your immune system. Also, try limiting your consumption of calorie-free alternatives like aspartame.
3) Get your body moving
With enough exercise, your immune system will be able to respond by producing more blood cells to attack any bacterial invader.
Furthermore, a regular exercise routine produces a longer-lasting change in your body. Individuals who exercise five to six days a week experience half as many scratchy throats and colds as people who don’t.
4) Limit your vices
It’s no secret that individuals with vices can develop certain diseases. For instance, smoking causes lung disease and cancer. What’s worse is that puffing away can also weaken your immune system. So aim to cut back and gradually kick the habit completely for a stonger immune system.
5) Laugh as much as you can
There’s a reason why laughter is said to be the best medicine. Along with your good mood, a good laugh can actually boost your immune system. It raises the level of antibodies in your blood that kill and attack viruses and bacteria.
Laughter also increases antibodies in mucus. This mucus comes from your respiratory passages and nose which are entry points for germs.
6) Choose essential fats
Some fats are important for building cells and the production of prostaglandins. These are hormone-like compounds that aid in regulating your immune system’s reaction to infection. The secret lies in how you choose your essential fats.
- Choose unsaturated vegetable fats rather than saturated animal foods. This is because they can reduce your white blood cells’ ability to kill bacteria.
- Avoid trans fats and manufactured fats such as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated”. These fats can interfere with your immunity.
7) Indulge in fish
Opt for oily fish like herring, sardines and mackerel. They have proteins essential for building cells that strengthen immunity. They also contain omega-3s which normalize the immune system function.
When your body is under attack, its first response is acute inflammation. Omega-3 helps lower inflammatory compounds, and at the same time, increases anti-inflammatory production. This can aid recovery and even hinder the development of cancer cells.
8) Get enough rest
For superior immunity, moderation is still key. If you work for more than eight hours a day, it’s only right that your body also receives at least eight hours of sleep. When you don’t get enough rest, the number of your germ-fighting cells dips temporarily, which increases your risk for infection.
Make sure to always get enough rest or sleep to preserve your immune system’s health. Your body also needs to recharge after a long day.
Adopt healthy-living habits
Your immune system’s first line of defense is always to choose a healthy lifestyle. Developing the good habits above is the best step you can take to keep your immune system healthy and strong. Each part of your body can function better when reinforced with healthy habits and protected from hazards.
Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.