What Is the Immune System?
The immune system is the body’s defense against infections which consists of the white blood cells, antibodies, lymphatic system, the bone marrow, and many others, working together to protect your body. Harmful substances, bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can invade the body and make you ill – hence the immune system function is essential.
How Does Your Immune System Work?
Your immune system is always hard at work to keep germs out of your body destroying them or minimizing the extent of their harm. It works firstly by making antibodies that destroy abnormal or foreign cells.
There is also a backup response that involves your immune system cells rather than antibodies. These cells assist your body to create memories of past defenses against certain threats. When your body sees that attacker again, it recalls that memory and starts to destroy the threat before the disease has a chance to grow. This mechanism is the reason why vaccines or immunizations are effective for illnesses like the flu, measles, chicken pox, or hepatitis.
How Can You Boost Your Immune System?
There are certain lifestyle choices you can implement to help your immune system to operate effectively.
Here are seven ways to ensure your immune system has everything it needs to perform at its best:
1. Eat A Healthy Diet
A well-balanced diet is the best way to support your immune system and lower your risk of disease development. Eating a colourful diet gives the variety and balance of many vitamins our bodies need to boost our immune system. Ensure that you are eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Limiting saturated fat and trans-fat, added sugar and processed foods can also support a better immune response to harmful bacteria and viruses.
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercise may improve immune function by increasing your overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more easily throughout your body.
In addition to improving your mental health, a 2019 scientific review in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can improve your immune response, lower illness risk, and reduce inflammation.
As a general goal, aim to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
3. Stay Hydrated
Water plays an important role in supporting your immune system. A fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which contains vital infection-fighting immune cells around your body, is largely made up of water. Dehydration slows down the movement of lymph which sometimes leads to an impaired immune system.
Depending on your body type, activity level, and diet, you will require different amounts of water. Typically, one should be drinking about eight glasses of water per day.
4. Get Adequate Sleep
When you are asleep, important activities are happening in your body that are not possible when you are awake. For example, important infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are more prone to getting sick after being exposed to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold. The National Sleep Foundation advises that adults need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night, while babies, young children, and teens need even more and persons over 65 need 7 – 8 hours per night.
5. Avoid Stress
It’s no secret that stress affects your health and immune system over time. During periods of stress – especially chronic stress – your body responds by initiating a stress response. This stress response, then suppresses your immune system, which increases your risk of infection or illness.
Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system as persons may use unhealthy behavioral coping strategies to reduce their stress, such as drinking alcohol and smoking.
Therefore, it is important to know how to identify and manage stress. Some healthy methods to reduce stress include deep breathing, mediation, prayer and exercise.
6. Add Probiotics to Your Diet
Friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics, are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut. These friendly bacteria help to restore and rebalance intestinal microbiota, and they also prevent undesirable germs from multiplying.
Research has shown that a thriving network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells tell the difference between normal, healthy and harmful cells. Probiotic-supplements are also a great way to add friendly bacteria to your body.
7. Include Immune Boosting Supplements
An increased intake of immune-boosting nutrients is a wise strategy for optimizing your immune health.
Micronutrient deficiency is very common, as our diets are typically high in processed foods and low in fiber, which causes nutrient depletion and stress on the body. A balanced diet and certain supplements can offer extra support to help you reach your desired health goals.
Jamieson is #HereForYourHealth and we have you covered. Our Immunity line of naturally sourced supplements such as Vitamin C and Vitamin D, and herbals such as Echinacea, can help you take control of and prevent illness by boosting your immune system.
Use these tips and supplements suggested to boost your immunity and be well!