The unfortunate news is that even people in excellent health fall ill every now and then. One of the best lines of defense you can build up comes from simple and healthy habits. Refining certain aspects of your day-to-day health routine, such as diet and quality of sleep, will greatly help support your immune system’s defenses against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. These days, staying healthy and having a strong immune system is more critical than ever.
Helpful Tips to Strengthen Your Immune System
- Get Enough Sleep. Although it may be tempting to work from home or binge-watch your favorite shows into the late hours of the night, studies show that those who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep each night are at an increased risk of getting sick after being exposed to a virus. Failing to get quality sleep or enough sleep can impact how quickly you recover if you do get sick. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep in order to maintain a healthy immune system, while teenagers need nine to ten hours. However, there is such a thing as too much sleep. For example, sleeping more than nine to ten hours a night as an adult may result in difficulty staying or falling asleep, negatively impacting their immune system.
- Incorporate Exercise. It is no secret that incorporating moderate-intensity exercise into your health routine offers many benefits to the immune system. Being active will also lower stress hormones, which reduces your chances of getting sick. A study done in 2019 shows that moderate exercise activates immune system cells, helping your immune system prevent the entrance of pathogens and even cancer cell growth. Additionally, exercise protects the immune system from the effects of aging, such as the increased fragility of the skin and decreased production of natural oils. On the contrary, regularly incorporating intense and vigorous activity like running, may temporarily weaken your immune function, leaving you more vulnerable to viral infections. Please use moderation!
- A Healthy Diet. Practicing good nutrition is crucial to maintaining a strong immune system, which offers protection from many seasonal illnesses and other health problems. Following a diet that is rich in antioxidants greatly supports your immune system. Antioxidants are abundant in many fruits such as strawberries, cherries, cantaloupe, and many more. They can also be found in many vegetables such as artichokes, kale, and spinach. In other words, don’t skip out on your fruits and vegetables!
- Manage Stress in A Healthy Way. Stress is just another part of life for a lot of us, but if it is chronic it can take a huge toll on your immune system. Stress causes your body to produce greater levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. When released in short bits, cortisol can boost your immunity as it limits inflammation. Despite this, it is only temporary as your body can become used to having high levels of cortisol in the blood over time, resulting in increased inflammation. Luckily, there are many ways to manage stress in a healthy way. For example, meditation and yoga are great choices to include in your daily health routine. Manage stress in a healthy way and your immune system will thank you!
- Practice Good Hygiene. Simply keeping your hands clean is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent illness. Be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using warm water and soap before preparing food or eating, and especially after coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, or touching any public surfaces.
- Catch Some Rays. The UV rays of the sun help your body make Vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells and maintaining a strong immune system. Sunlight also helps boost a brain chemical called serotonin, which can give you increased energy levels, keep you calm, and positive-minded which are all important building blocks for a healthy immune system!
4 Great Supplements That Boost Your Immune System
- Probiotics. It may be surprising to learn that 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut. This explains whys taking probiotics may help boost your immune system. Probiotics are friendly bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, that are naturally found in the intestinal tract as well as in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. They also produce substances that maintain the lining of the gut healthy, improving immune function and warding off inflammation
- Garlic. Many studies have shown that garlic has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that can help stimulate the immune system. You can reap the benefit from garlic by eating 2-3 garlic cloves per day. While raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is considered most beneficial for health, supplement doses range from 600 to 1,200 mg per day.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D has a few important functions with one of them being to facilitate normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for improved resistance against certain diseases. A vitamin D deficiency can be diagnosed by performing a simple blood test.
- Zinc. Zinc has the natural ability to help the immune system operate efficiently. Zinc is necessary for the optimal function of different types of white blood cells that protect the body from illness and infection. Studies have also shown that zinc can help to decrease the duration of a cold.
Although sometimes it seems like germs surround us everywhere we go and illness is inevitable, you can ensure that your immune system is strong enough to protect you against infections by following these helpful tips.
If you are interested in learning more about health and wellness, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted practitioners at SHIN Wellness. We offer many holistic treatments such as Decompression Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Neurofeedback, Psychology, Reiki, Nutrition, Corrective Exercises, and Massage. If you need some help figuring out what service is right for you, try our personalized consultation. Our Wellness Center and Chiropractor office in Miami Florida specializes in restoring your health!