When we think about taking care of the health of our bodies, we may immediately think of ways we can look after our hearts. You might think about doing a lot of exercises and eating healthy to keep your weight at the right level or taking in lots of walnuts and oily fish for brain health omega 3 fats. It is possible to think of ways to take care of our mental health, such as trying to avoid stress when feasible and focusing on mindfulness. But how often do we contemplate taking care of our health and immune system?
The immune system of our body is a multi-faceted system composed of molecules, cells, organs, and tissues that move throughout the body, searching for and eliminating invading pathogenic bacteria, fungal species, and viruses, as well as any other thing that the body recognizes as foreign objects. The complex system is comprised of two branches – an innate immune system as well as the adaptive immune system. The inborn immune system plays a role in protecting against microorganisms, including yeasts, bacteria, fungi, and viruses that attempt to spread disease like the common flu viruses, colds as well as vomiting bugs. Our adaptive immune system acts as the memory part of our immunity. It is learning to recognize pathogenic bugs we’ve come in contact with to produce antibodies to fight them the next time they are in our path.
Diseases, medications that suppress the immune system and being immunocompromised, or suffering from an autoimmune disorder could be indicators the immune system isn’t up to the level of. However, a poor diet and smoking cigarettes, drinking a lot and a lifestyle that is sedentary could all trigger our immune system to diminish. This means that we are more susceptible to illness and infection and can be frustrating at best or life-threatening at worst. It’s vital to take care of your immune system particularly this time of year as winter is coming. Here are some tips to help support the health of your immune system…
Get plenty of rest
We are aware that to remain awake and functioning at our peak it is essential to have enough sleep. A couple of nights of unreliable sleep won’t cause any lasting damage, however, we’ll feel tired exhausted, irritable, and tired as well as make unhealthy choices with our food, such as copious quantities of caffeinated beverages and sweet foods to be more alert and make it through the day.
But a long-term absence of sleep could be detrimental to health. It could cause chronic ailments like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 form of diabetes. Not only that the inability to sleep may also result in weakening the immune system.
Sleep experts recommend that adults should get between 7 and 9 hours sleeping each night. If we continuously sleep less than that can make us more susceptible to getting sick, flu, colds stomach bugs, and the rest of the bugs that seek to eat away our energy levels and cause us to be unable to work. It all comes down to the cytokines molecules. Cytokines are the proteins produced by the body in tiny molecules that transmit signals to various parts of the immune system to control the body’s reaction to illness and pathogens that cause infection. They alert our immune system to an intruder or foreign body to ensure it can switch to the appropriate immune response to combat it.
The body makes cytokines when you’re asleep. If we’re not getting sufficient quality sleep, the odds are that we’re insufficiently producing cytokines that can create an immune response whenever we require one. Do everything to ensure that you’re getting enough sleeping throughout the night to ensure that your immune system is working properly.
Get Regular Exercise
Being active isn’t only beneficial to us with regards to fitness, flexibility, and body composition control. Regular exercise also provides advantages for our immune system. Researchers have found that exercise regularly can increase the number of cells that comprise your immune system such as the T cells as well as Natural killer cells.
Additionally, as the cytokines mentioned earlier are beneficial, there are pro-inflammatory cytokines that can accumulate, leading to inflammation and illness. Exercise is also a great way to lower these inflammatory cytokines. They also help to boost the immune system.
It is recommended that the NHS advises 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, along with a few sessions of resistance training. This could be three half-hour jogging sessions or walking at a brisk pace, as well as two hour-long sessions of yoga, and two half-hour high-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions each week.
If you’re busy There are a variety of online fitness classes that are being planned and meant to be completed at home and require no equipment or space. You can find exercise lessons available on YouTube and live streaming via Instagram as well as Facebook. There’s plenty of activities for everyone, even those kids who need to stay moving!
Take Control of Your Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can be difficult to get rid of. Life is hectic and filled with the stress of family and work. However, doing our best to maintain our mental health is beneficial to our immune system and could create the beneficial effect of helping us prevent illnesses and infections. Stress and anxiety increase levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can decrease the amount of anti-infection white blood cells accessible to your immune system.
Additionally, being stressed or anxious may make us seek out ways of coping that will be discussed in this article, which can be detrimental to our immune system. Smoking or drinking, as well as eating processed comfort food are all no-nos in the quest to build our immune systems.
Therefore, doing things that aid to maintain a state of calm is crucial. Yoga and mindfulness practice helps our minds to become more mindful and to pay attention to our breathing, and in the here and present. There are a variety of websites and apps for free that offer guided yoga sessions and mindfulness practices for those who are new to the practice and those who have tried previously.
Other methods to ensure our mental health is under control are simple activities we love to do. Activities like reading, writing poetry, and spending time with our kids or pets are great ways to keep our minds healthy particularly at this time. Try to find an effort to dedicate time each day to your mental wellbeing.
Spend Time Outdoors
The fresh air and taking in the beauty of nature is beneficial to our mental well-being however, it can also help strengthen our immune system as well.
At present, it’s not completely understood how nature and the outdoors promote good immunity. There are a variety of theories being proposed. One is that nature assists to turn on the rest and digest’ parasympathetic system. (This is in sharp in contrast with the symptoms of stressful situations which activates the “fight or flight” system, which causes an immune system to be effectively (and temporarily) shut down temporarily.)
The process of digesting and resting is a state of calm, which can be triggered by relaxing or engaging in things that calm you, like being in nature for a while. When this portion of our nervous system switches to on, your body will spend time repairing itself and strengthening immunity.
Therefore, try to incorporate the outdoors into your daily routine. It could be a morning cup of breakfast in the park, walking to work, or enjoying your lunchtime on the lawn. (But be aware of the rules of social distancing in place.)
Choose a healthy lifestyle
Along with eating well and engaging in regular fitness, the lifestyle choices we make influence your immune system. One of the most important factors to consider is the amount of alcohol we consume and whether smoking cigarettes or not.
The smoking advice is easy – stop. Smoking causes the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These, as we’ve seen above can cause inflammation, illness, and a weakening of the immune system. Smoking cigarettes also contribute to persistent inflammation of the lungs that over time will increase which can lead to the destruction of tissues as well as the release of additional inflammation-related molecules that weaken the immune system.
A safe amount of alcohol isn’t always as simple. Some believe no level is safe for alcohol while others say that there is. According to the NHS Guidelines on Alcohol states that we should not drink over 14 units per week and be able to enjoy at least four days without alcohol per week.
Researchers have discovered that drinking too much alcohol could “blunt” the activities in white blood cells, known as monocytes. These cells are essential to the process of boosting immunity. Alcohol can reduce how much interferon which is a chemical that fights viruses monocytes make. Keep the amount of alcohol you drink to a minimum and stop smoking cigarettes if you smoke.
Eat a balanced, healthy Diet
One of the most effective ways to maintain the health of our immune system is to nourish it by eating a healthy and balanced diet. This is why we should eat a wide variety of vibrant fruits and vegetables, such as:
The citrus fruits contain immune-boosting vitamin C which aids in strengthening immunity. Choose from a selection of lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. Clementines, grapefruits limes, and kiwis. The human body isn’t able to conserve vitamin C. It excretes excess vitamin C in urine, therefore make sure you’re eating these food items daily.
The green leafy vegetable It is beneficial to take your greens! A variety of greens like spinach, pak choi, and kale is also a great way in boosting the levels of vitamin C in your body.
Broccoli is an incredible source of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential minerals, try to consume broccoli at least a couple of times per week to get its nutritional benefits to the immune system. Make sure to cook it as little as is possible to ensure it retains its nutritional quality.
GarlicGarlic helps aid in maintaining a healthy immune system thanks to the allicin compound, a sulfur-containing compound that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be added to your meals at home!
Consume Dietary Supplements
Sometimes, it’s not feasible to consume a healthy and balanced diet. Stress is a constant factor, as well as being occupied with family and work commitments as well as social obligations and not having enough time to cook make it so all of our good intentions may be thrown out the window. This is why so many depend on supplements for their diets to help boost their diet to the level it ought to be in regards to vitamins and minerals. (Although they should not be used instead of eating a diverse, healthy diet.)
In the winter season, when flu and cold illnesses are prevalent and at moments like these, where we’re all trying our best to stay healthy, dietary supplements can prove beneficial. Particularly Vitamins C and D zinc, echinacea, and turmeric.
Vitamin C can be described as a water-soluble vitamin that aids in maintaining good immunity by increasing the functions of white blood cells. If you are taking only one supplement to support the immune system take vitamin C.
Vitamin D can be described as a fat-soluble vitamin that gets its supply by sunlight hitting our skin. In the winter seasons, it’s recommended to consume Vitamin D supplements since we’re all believed to be lacking vitamin D. Researchers have discovered the fact that supplements with vitamin D may provide a “mild protection against respiratory illnesses”.
Zinc is a mineral that helps support the function of white blood cells while they’re responding to infections. Research has shown zinc supplements can cut down the duration of symptoms of the common cold by as much as 33 percent.
Echinacea can be an herb I believe in! The science behind it is still a bit hazy however, some studies suggest that echinacea may have slight protection against upper respiratory infection. I can fight off colds by applying daily a tincture of echinacea.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curries that golden yellow color and is a rich source of anti-inflammatory substances, including curcumin. It’s the subject of extensive current research and has been proven to be beneficial in boosting our immune system.
Water isn’t only effective in keeping our hands free. drinking enough fluids to remain and hydrated can also affect our immune system. If you’re sick your body requires plenty of fluids to ensure that the electrolyte balance between sugars and salts is in the right place. If we don’t, we’ll soon lose fluids and become apathetic.
However, to avoid becoming sick, to begin with, It’s equally important to drink plenty of water. As you’ll notice in the section on humidifiers below the nasal cavity depends on moisture to stop the inhalation of harmful pathogenic viruses and bacteria which can make us sick. The more we’re hydrated, the better our nasal cavity will be at being able to defend itself against bugs.
Additionally, drinking water helps keep our kidneys working properly. The more we drink water the more toxins that the kidneys eliminate through our urine, which means less work our immune system has to fight against these harmful toxins. The body also benefits from water by helping it make lymph fluid. This is a part of our immune system that is responsible to eliminate the toxins. The green tea drink is effective for keeping us hydrated. It is loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants.
Beware of Energy Drinks or Caffeinated Sodas
It’s not necessary to inform you about how sweet fizzy drinks and caffeine-laden energy drinks are harmful to our health. Apart from the hundreds of sugar in every bottle as well as the caffeine and other stimulant ingredients like the amino acid taurine (an amino acid) are also questionable.
Caffeine is considered a healthy food due to its antioxidant compounds, numerous polyphenol that has been proven to aid in maintaining a healthy immune system. However, more than two cups of coffee daily (preferably genuine ground coffee that is not instant, as it could be contaminated with processing chemicals) can be harmful to the immune system.
Caffeine, specifically a large amount of it in a single sitting like from an energy drink increases the levels of cortisol. Cortisol is an adrenaline hormone, which creates that wonderful after-coffee joy. However, as with all things, too much of it isn’t healthy. The cortisol level could weaken the immune system. In addition, caffeine can reduce the number of T cells that are produced by our body. T cells are white blood cells that play a crucial role in the process of boosting immunity.
Diet sodas, even though they may be sugar-free, however, contain caffeine and artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharine, and aspartame. These substances can alter the delicate gut microbiome that researchers now understand are essential in regulating your immune system. Avoid all kinds of drinks whenever possible.
Beware of processed foods
Processed food such as pizzas, meats, and pies-ready meals crisps, sweets biscuits, and cakes all taste delicious and we know that. But they’re only good because they’re designed for this purpose. They are typically made with MSG which is a flavor enhancer that gives processed and fast foods the addictive flavor. However, MSG is notoriously harmful to our health.
MSG has been proven to affect the function of the thymus and spleen, both of which are essential to immunity through the production of antibodies and white blood cells. When we consume large quantities of MSG that causes an increase in oxidative stress inside the spleen and thymus, which results in the creation of fewer white blood cells. Additionally, MSG reduces the levels of interleukin made, which is crucial in transmitting signals to and out of your immune system.
It’s not only MSG that can cause problems with the immune system. Foods that are high in fats, sugars, and salt may cause an increase in inflammation and weakening of immunity. Keep these foods in a moderation and eat more of those healthy foods that we discussed in the previous paragraph.
Make use of a humidifier
It’s not something you’ll find on lists of ways to help support the health of your immune system However, it’s crucial having a humidifier in your home can assist you in breathing easier and also help you avoid getting infected with viruses and bacteria that could affect your respiratory system.
In all our nostrils there are tiny hairs known as cilia. They help to catch all dust, dirt, and particles that we could breathe in every day. In addition, there is a myriad of viruses and bacteria determined to get into our nose passages, and into our respiratory system, where they could cause us to get sick.
They are vital for capturing these bugs that persist to let us blast them into tissue and dispose of them. If the air we breathe is extremely dehydrated, the hairs will not be able to perform their task as effectively and can allow dirt, dust, and insects to get to the airways.
While a humidifier can’t necessarily help your immune system in any way, but it can make the air more humid. This will enable the cilia to do their job correctly to avoid infections and consequently help our immune system with less work to complete. Try to install a humidifier throughout your principal areas, including your bedroom, to aid in maintaining a strong immune system.
Make sure you practice good hygiene
The hypothesis of hygiene states the exposure to a wide assortment of fungi, bacteria, and viruses during our time as infants and children are vital to creating a healthy immune system. It’s true. Exposure to a wide range of microorganisms during our lifetime aids in the development of an effective and healthy microbiota. This is the term used to describe the variety of microorganisms that are found in our digestive tracts and are also referred to as probiotics. The gut is now believed to be directly related to immunity. The healthier the gut, the better the immune system.
However, exposure to all sorts of bacteria and viruses can be harmful, as it is well-known that some are harmful, while some are extremely dangerous. We’re always being warned of the risk of getting sick particularly coronavirus. Therefore, we should all be taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle to decrease the chance of contracting it.
The UK Government has issued the guidelines on hygiene that are based on good practice:
* Cleanse your hands with soap and water frequently and for at minimum of 20 seconds
* Apply hand sanitizer gel to the hands if soap and water aren’t readily available
• Wash your hands immediately after you arrive home
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeves (not the hands) whenever you cough or sneeze.
* Throw the tissues you have used in the bin right away and wash your hands following.
We hope that all of our suggestions to boost your immune system have been beneficial. It’s not anything out of the ordinary. And they’re all an aspect of making healthy food and lifestyle choices that aid in maintaining good overall health and healthy immune system health.