Wandering about ways to strengthen your immune system and lifestyle changes to boost your immune system?
The immune system is a defensive system of the body that contains a complex network of cells and proteins. This complex network protects the body of an individual from infectious environmental agents such as microbes and chemicals thus preserving the integrity of the body. When any foreign particle attacks the body, the immune system of the body creates an immune response against that particle which is in the form of innate immunity and specific immunity. Innate immunity provides the first line of defense and responds rapidly to protect the body against infection. Specific immunity involves producing antibodies against a pathogen to destroy it. Another very important role of this system is to keep a record of each infectious particle or microbe against which it has defeated to protect the body to recognize and kill the microbe rapidly if it enters the body later.
How to strengthen your immune system?
There are several practices to boost your immune system to protect your body from illnesses:
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Get an adequate sleep
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly
- Supplement wisely
- Use antioxidants
- Don’t smoke
Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetable-containing diet is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. This diet provides vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C-like nutrients that can boost the immune response of the body against infectious agents. In these foods, antioxidants decrease inflammation and help reduce oxidative stress by combatting unstable compounds called free radicals. Some many fruits and vegetables that are best to strengthen your immune system:
- Citrus fruits
- Green tea
- Sunflower seeds
- Red bell peppers
Get an adequate sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to boost your immune system. Inadequate sleep may increase your risk of getting sick. During the night while you sleep, certain types of small proteins named cytokines are released by your immune system. The cytokines help your body fight against trauma, infection, and inflammation. So, sleep deprivation causes a decrease in the production of these cytokines that are protective against infections. There are certain guidelines to sleep better to protect yourself from getting sick:
- Sleep at least about 7 to 9 hours a night
- Follow a regular bedtime schedule
- Skip caffeine near bedtime
- Try to limit screen time before bed such as emitted light from your phone.
- Do not disturb the natural wake-sleep cycle of your body
- Keep your bedroom cool to get better shut-eye
Relieve stress and anxiety
Lower your stress levels because it is very essential for the proper functioning of your immune system. Stress may be due to bad relationships with your co-workers family, and friends. There are several ways to relieve your mind:
- Find a furry friend
- Engage yourself in an activity that you love the most
- Build your social network
- Look on the bright side
- Have a laugh
Drink plenty of water
Be sure to drink plenty of water each day because dehydration can make you susceptible to diseases. Water helps to remove toxins from your body It is used by your body to rinse and flush out nasal passages washing away any pathogen if exists. There are several ways to drink water to boost your immune system:
- Take a cold glass of water by adding lemon. There are several health benefits of lemon water because lemons are a source of vitamin C that is essential to boost the immune system and helps in detoxification.
- Sip water as hot tea. It is also the best way to strengthen your immune system because warm water can provide antioxidants that may destroy free radicals that are harmful and protect your body against cancer.
Take supplements wisely because they fight against viral infections. There is a list of some supplements that help to strengthen the immune response of your body against the attack of any infectious agent:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
These are essential compounds in our diet that keep the immune system working efficiently. These compounds help to remove free radicals from the body which are released in many natural cellular processes of the body. There is a need to neutralize these substances otherwise they can cause severe damage and inflammation. The best antioxidants are:
- Vitamin E is found in olive oil, almonds, and avocados.
- Vitamin C is contained in broccoli, kiwi, bell peppers strawberries, and citrus.
- Lycopene is found in fruits and vegetables that are red in color such as watermelon, tomatoes, and papaya.
- Anthocyanins are contained in foods that are blue and purple in color such as red cabbage, plums, blueberries, pomegranates, eggplant, and raspberries
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are contained in vegetables that are dark green in color such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and collard greens.
- Beta-carotene is found in vitamin A which is very important for the health of bone and vision. Sources of these are papayas, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, and chard.
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Tomar, N., & De, R. K. (2014). A brief outline of the immune system. In Immunoinformatics (pp. 3-12). Humana Press, New York, NY.
Elenkov, I. J., Wilder, R. L., Chrousos, G. P., & Vizi, E. S. (2000). The sympathetic nerve—an integrative interface between two supersystems: the brain and the immune system. Pharmacological reviews, 52(4), 595-638.
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