Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Right now, you are probably overwhelmed with information about the current health crisis and what it means for you, your friends, and your family. It's a strange time, and stress levels are high. To add to this stress, it is also flu season! Chances are high that you or someone you know will become sick.
As a result, you are also probably wondering what you can do to help protect yourself from infection. It seems like some people get very sick while others aren't as affected. One of the reasons for this is because of how well their immune systems work. Think of your immune system as the first line of defense against any type of disease or infection.
This means the best way to stay healthy is to boost your immune system so that you can be as healthy as possible. The good news is that you can improve your immune system by starting some simple habits and eating certain foods. While having an excellent immune system doesn't guarantee you won't get sick, it does give you the best chance of feeling well while others are ill. Here are ten natural ways to boost your immune system.
1. Eat More Veggies
Vegetables and fruits are the best foods you can eat. Complement those with seeds and nuts, and your diet will be packed with the vitamins and nutrients your immune system needs to function properly. It's essential to consume these foods daily so that your body is always ready for any type of infection. In addition to a healthy immune system, a diet of healthy, whole foods also helps your liver detoxify your body. Make it a habit to eat plenty of green veggies every day.
2. Get Your Vitamins
One of the best things you can do for your immune system is to get all of your vitamins and minerals. This means you want to stock up on Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. While Vitamin C is the most famous for helping you feel better when sick, all of these vitamins work together to help your body function at its best. You can get these vitamins from foods like spinach, strawberries, grapefruit, and almonds. However, if you can't get these foods, then you can supplement it by taking vitamins.
3. Exercise Regularly
Working out regularly will boost your immune system. This is because regular exercise actually boosts the production of T-cells. These cells are a type of white blood cell that helps guard your body against infections. Exercise can be as simple as walking or as advanced as high-intensity interval training. However, you don’t need to go all out every time. Too much vigorous exercise can actually weaken your immune system and make you vulnerable to viral infections.
4. Reduce Stress Levels
Reducing your stress levels is key to boosting your immune system. This is because chronic stress can suppress your body's response to infection. When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones, like cortisol. This hormone can stop T-cells, a white blood cell, from reproducing or receiving signals. In addition to this, cortisol also reduces the amount of an antibody called IgA. This antibody lines your respiratory tract and your gut and is your first line of defense against pathogens. You can reduce stress in many ways. Try practicing yoga, meditating, or taking bubble baths. You can also practice self-care by face timing with friends, doing crafts, or cooking.
5. Get Lots of Sleep
Sleep is a vital part of life. Without it, your body cannot function at its best. Lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can damage your body. Lack of sleep can also lead to the reduction of T-cell activity in your body. As a result, your immune system will be severely weakened, and you also won't respond to vaccines. Aim for 7- 8 hours of sleep per night. You may need more, though!
6. Limit Alcohol Intake
While you may feel like alcohol can help you deal better with an extended quarantine, it's not great for your immune system. In fact, too much alcohol can dampen your immune system and even mess with its pathways. You can still enjoy a glass of wine occasionally, but be sure to only consume moderate quantities of alcohol.
7. Stop Smoking
Smoking is not a healthy habit. It does not benefit your body in any way. Not only does it increase your risk of developing cancer, but it also impacts your immune system. It harms both the innate and adaptive immunity your body has. As a result, it increases your chances of developing an infection and being unable to fight it. There are a variety of resources available to help you quit smoking, including vaping, patches, and gum. Quitting smoking can be a process, but it's the best choice for your body!
8. Take Herbs and Supplements
If you don't want to take over the counter drugs or prescription medication, then consider using herbs and supplements. These can help boost your immune system and get your body ready for any illness that may come. They also provide nutrients that will help your entire body function better. Certain herbs like echinacea, Andrographis astragalus, elderberry, and AHCC can also help reduce both the length and severity of your illness.
9. Eat Mushrooms
Mushrooms might not regularly be on your menu, but they are great for your body! Mushrooms are full of nutrients and minerals and can boost your immune system. Adding them to your diet will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your immune system functioning at its best. You can enjoy tremella, shiitake, and turkey tail mushrooms with many different dishes.
10. Get Out of the House
Getting out of the house is more difficult now, with most of us being under quarantine or lockdowns. However, you should still be able to step outside to soak up the sun. This is incredibly important because that is how your body can get Vitamin D. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is crucial to your immune system. It helps it function properly and also helps your body produce antibodies. In fact, those with low levels of Vitamin D often have more respiratory problems. So, take 10 – 15 minutes to get outside every day!