7 Ways To Boost Your Immune System Naturally
It used to be that people only got preventative care once a year. But all that has changed in recent years and there’s a much more focused effort on preventing detrimental health problems, from colds and flu to cancer and diabetes.
One way you can ensure you stay healthy, live life as best you can and avoid having to head to the doctor when illness comes knocking at your door, is to give your body a chance at fighting back against invasive health woes.
You have the ability to implement immune boosting habits and make changes that not only work to help you get better when you’re sick, but also to prevent illness from taking hold in the beginning.
Your immune system is like any other part of your body. It can be strong, or it can be weak. What you do with your lifestyle will determine just how strong or how weak it is. Developing good habits for your wellness can be one of the best strategies you can undertake in preventing serious health conditions manifesting.
As we expand on this article, I will highlight seven ways that you can boost your immune system naturally, without exposing it to toxic chemicals and formulas. Take a look below…
1 – Make Sleep A Priority
While it might seem like this is a small step, it’s actually one of the biggest and best changes you can make on your immune system’s behalf. When you get the right amount of sleep, it protects your immune system and gives it the power it needs to surround pathogens and swiftly deal with them.
While you’re sleeping, your body’s immune system is busy producing cytokines. These proteins are necessary in order to fight back against illness. When you don’t get the sleep that you need, your body has fewer of these cytokines.
That means your immune system is trying to keep you healthy without the right amount of tools that it needs to use to fight with. Research has long shown that there’s a link between how much sleep you get and how well your immune system performs.
This is one reason that you’ll sometimes feel sleepy when you get sick. This is your body trying to help you get better. People who don’t get enough sleep or who sleep fitfully are at greater risk of catching an illness.
How much sleep you need to get is determined by your age. The younger a person is, the more sleep he or she needs. If you’re an adult, you should aim for around 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
People who regularly run on less than 6 hours of sleep are more likely to become sick. Then when they do become ill, their body has more trouble fighting it off. You’ve probably heard how important getting enough sleep is, but you struggle to get it.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, you need to establish a routine that conditions your body’s internal clock to sleep when it’s time to sleep. You might use natural melatonin to help you get a full night’s rest.
You can also start a healthy pre-bedtime routine where you limit the amount of caffeine you consume, turn off electronic gadgets, and take a warm bath to help your body when it’s time to go to bed.
2 – Create Healthy Meal Plans
Eating well is one of the best ways to keep your body’s immune system healthy. Most people try to eat correctly because they want to maintain the right weight. But even if you’re not overweight, you still need to eat foods that are nutritious for your body.
The food that you consume does so much more for you than just help control the pounds you put on or keep off. You need the nutrients that these foods contain because they work with your immune system to keep you well.
Eating healthy is simple, though it takes a degree of self discipline to maintain a good diet. Craving junk food can be all too tempting when faced with constant advertisements and offers in the food stores. The more natural a food is, the better it is for your body. These are certain food groups that contain no additives and no preservatives. Foods like fruits and vegetables top the list of what to choose when eating healthy.
These foods pack an immune boosting punch because they’re known to fight back against inflammation caused by illnesses, such as viruses.
Not only do these foods fight against short term inflammation from things like the common cold, but they also help against long term inflammation caused by more serious health problems.
When you choose natural foods, it boosts your body’s digestive system and helps it work better for you. Many people think that you can just get sick by being around germs someone passed along through coughing or sneezing.
But you can also get ill by eating foods that someone who’s sick has already touched. When you eat healthily, your digestive tract will prevent the germs from flourishing and making you sick.
Eat natural foods like fruits that have vitamin C, because these foods are loaded with antioxidants, which protect the immune system. Colourful foods like red grapes, oranges, yellow bananas and leafy greens are usually the healthier ones to choose.
Remember when you were ill, and your mum made chicken soup for you? That’s because chicken soup is also loaded with antioxidants as well as amino acids that can prevent further sickness.
Boosting your immune system by eating healthy is also about what you need to limit or remove from your eating plan. Be careful with how much added sugar you allow in your diet.
Not only are these empty calories that don’t give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs, but foods loaded with sugar-laden carbs make you gain weight and being overweight makes your odds of becoming ill much higher.
When you weigh more, your immune system will not work as well to prevent you from getting sick. By limiting how much sugar you ingest however will lower the toll on your immune system and give it a better chance of protecting you.
When you eat something that contains sugar, it suppresses your immune system until that sugary food or drink is digested fully.
If you’re addicted to sugar in your diet, its highly advisable to take steps to wean yourself off and switch to more healthier foods.
3 – Change Your Fats
If you’re like most people, you don’t really pay that much attention to what kinds of fats are in the foods that you eat. The wrong fats not only make you gain weight, but they can also compromise your immune system over the long term..
The right kinds of fats, the healthy ones, do just the opposite. That’s because they empower your immune system to react as it should whenever there’s a threat. The kinds of fats that you need to have are ones contained in products such as olive oil and coconut oil.
Olive oil is anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant and antibacterial. It also contains vitamin K and vitamin E. Vitamin K boosts immune system response and vitamin E does the same thing.
You want to make sure that you use extra virgin olive oil as opposed to simple refined olive oil. For foods that contain good fats, choose things like fatty fish, nuts and seeds, as well as avocados.
Cook with oils such as olive, coconut and sunflower oil, which contain fatty acids that are good for the immune system. Canola oil also contains Omega-3, which is one of the fatty acids that helps boost immune health.
4 – Use Probiotics
Studies have shown that using probiotics can help boost your immune system health. One of the ways they do this is by helping your gut develop a healthy bacteria balance, by limiting the kind of bad bacteria that make you more susceptible to illness.
In addition to that, probiotics work to aid the immune system with the cycle of creating antibodies against whatever is threatening you. This happens by raising the production of certain cells.
Your body has what is known as natural killer cells. The job of these cells is to go after the foreign substance introduced into your body.
The minute that you’re exposed to an antigen, these cells communicate with the immune system to get busy producing antibodies to whatever is going on.
They’re your gatekeepers against viruses. You want to boost your immune system by making sure your body has plenty of these cells. The way to do that goes back to eating healthy.
Your meals should consist of high anti-oxidant natural foods that boost immunity, such as blueberries. You should also make sure that the meats you consume are lean rather than fatty. You can find helpful probiotics in yogurts too.
But you’ll need to look for the ones that are specifically labelled to contain lactobacillus acidophilus. Not only will this help gut bacteria balance for a healthy immune system, but it will also help protect against respiratory illness.
When you consume probiotics on a regular basis, you lower your chances of catching a cold. If you do end up catching one, using probiotics can help you get better faster, because they boost your immune system response.
You don’t just have to eat yogurt to get a healthy dose of probiotics. You can find this naturally in items like sauerkraut. You can also find it in pickles. Any food that’s fermented is a good source of probiotics.
If you want to, you can take a probiotic supplement, but it’s better to get your probiotic from a food source because they’re less likely to break down and lose potency. You can even find probiotics in wine.
Research has shown that wine contains a higher level of probiotics than the amount found in yogurt.
Studies show that people who consume foods containing probiotics have a quicker immune system reaction to illness, and fight these illnesses off better than those who don’t have regular consumption of probiotics as part of their diet.
5 – Take Regular Exercise
If you’re someone who works out regularly, you already have a great habit that helps boost your immune system naturally. Research has shown that getting regular exercise helps with the production of the cells your body needs to keep sickness at bay.
When you exercise, it clears your airways and lowers your odds of getting a respiratory illness. The reason for this is because whilst exercising, your body creates more white blood cells.
These are the cells that your body needs in order to fight against bugs, viruses and other things that are harmful to your health. Those with a lower white blood cell count tend to catch a cold or the flu more often than not.
Regular exercise can improve your white blood cell count, specifically your T-cells, regardless of your age or current physical condition. Studies have shown that older adults who exercise often will see the same number of cell production as young people have.
To boost your immune system, it’s important that you stick to the same schedule weekly. If you exercise four days a week, then make that your habit and don’t skip workouts whenever you feel like it.
Consistency is key to getting the benefit for your overall immune health.
You also want to make sure that your exercise is at least moderate in effort. That means if you take a walk, make it a brisk one. Jogging, swimming, and bicycling are forms of moderate exercise as well. Strength training has also shown to raise the white blood cell count.
6 – Drink Water
While this seems like such a simple step to boosting the immune system, it’s an important one. When you don’t drink enough water, your body will struggle to flush waste.
At the same time, your body’s immune system will also be impacted. When you don’t have enough water in your body, it harms the lymphatic system. It’s this system that’s integral to your overall well being.
This is the part of your body that works to produce white blood cells. When your lymphatic system isn’t where it needs to be, it can’t be on the alert for pathogens that might harm you.
You end up getting bacterial and viral infections when this system isn’t working properly. If you’ve ever felt thirsty, that’s a sign that you already entered a state of dehydration. Your body gives you the signal that you require more fluids after this state, not before.
This is a sign that your immune system is currently impaired until the dehydration is addressed. Dehydration can make you sick. When you don’t get the correct amount of water that your body’s immune system needs, this will cause your cells not to be able to function the way that they should.
This will leave you open to illness. In order to protect your health, make sure that you drink plenty of water every day – even when you don’t feel thirsty. You can see that you’re drinking enough water by gauging the colour of your urine.
It should be pale yellow like a very weak lemonade or clear. Darker urine is a sign that you’re not getting enough water. You will also want to adjust your amount of water intake based on your physical level. The more active you are, or the hotter the temperature you’re in, the more water you should drink.
7 – Use Supplements
The right kind of supplement can be beneficial to your immune system. But there are some on the market that claim they can boost your immune health, when they don’t contain any vitamin or mineral ingredients supporting that claim.
Be aware of which supplements you should take and which ones you shouldn’t waste money on. Certain supplements can strengthen your system.
One of these is vitamin C. When people get sick, they often crave orange juice. That’s the body’s natural response to try and get the help it needs when the immune system is having to fight against an invader.
This vitamin is essential to help the body produce white blood cells, which are imperative in the fight against illnesses. It also aids in how the white blood cells are able to function.
Zinc is a supplement that can also boost your immune system. This mineral helps the immune system activate the cells needed to not only help you get well when you’re ill, but it also strengthens immunity so that you’re less likely to catch every illness that comes along.
You can find zinc in foods like fortified cereals, beans, nuts, and oysters. However most people, especially the elderly, don’t get this mineral in the amount that is needed for optimal immune health.
Taking a vitamin D supplement is another natural way to help the immune system. This important vitamin, particularly vitamin D3 helps offer your body protection against common viruses such as a cold as well as against more serious ones like the flu.
Without enough vitamin D, your white blood cells can’t do their job correctly. Your immune system also needs supplement vitamins E and A in order to prevent infections, as well as sickness.
Selenium is a mineral that’s necessary for your immune system to stay strong and it’s one of the supplements that can help the body protect itself against viral illnesses.
When taking supplements, remember that if you’re taking a daily vitamin separately, first check the recommended daily amount so that you’re within the normal range.
It can also help to get your blood work analysed by a medical professional to see where your body stands in terms of vitamin deficiencies.
Pursuing a preventative mindset when it comes to your overall health is vital to longevity and enjoying a life where you thrive with energy and well-being.
Don’t wait until you’ve already begun suffering from an illness to take these precautionary measures.