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How to boost your immunity

Posted on February 15 2019

How to boost your immunity

 

Developing healthy habits can boost and strengthen your immune system, meaning your body is more likely to prevent illness naturally.[1] It’s important to know how to keep your body protected, especially during the cold weather. Here are some of the ways your lifestyle can increase your immunity:

 

 

Focus on your food

We all know how our diets plays a vital role in boosting your immune system. When the body is fed properly with enough nutrition from a variety of sources, all the organs and cells are supported and have the building blocks they need for ongoing maintenance and growth. Some great immune boosting foods include spinach, broccoli, garlic, and citrus fruits.

These foods impact our immunity because our immune systems largely depend on our microbiome and gut health. Eating the right amount of prebiotics like legumes, leafy greens and whole-grains, as well as probiotics like cottage cheese and yoghurt nurture the good bacteria that fights off the bad guys. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation, like processed sugars and alcohol, can also help. Too much sugar in the diet decreases the number of cells in the immune system that attack bacteria, an effect that can last for hours after a few sugary drinks.

To make sure your body is in the optimal condition to fight off any colds or flu, you’ve got to be getting all your vitamins in the right doses.

  • Vitamin A – Can help with the normal functioning of the immune system as it’s thought to play a role in the development of T-helper cells and B-cells (a type of white blood cell that secretes antibodies).
  • Vitamin C – Can help support cellular functions needed by the immune system. Oranges, broccoli, strawberries and red and green peppers are your best source.
  • Vitamin D – Plays a key role in boosting the immune system by activating our immune defenses.[2]

If you’re struggling to incorporate enough of these vitamins into your diet on a daily basis, it might be worth supplementing your diet to ensure you’re hitting your daily quota.

 

 

Don’t scrimp on sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is one of the most important ways to make sure your immune system is in tip-top shape. Without sleep, inflammation in the body increases and our ability to manage the inflammation and fight off infection is reduced.[3] Lack of sleep causes a dip in infection-fighting antibodies and cells, making you vulnerable to any number of viruses. Try to keep as consistent a sleep schedule as possible, as getting enough rest every night can be the difference between staying healthy or not.

 

 

Get fighting fit

When you exercise regularly, there are a number of results that benefit your body. Your heart gets stronger and is able to pump more blood throughout your body when you exercise. Your lungs get better equipped at handling oxygen and dishing it out to the rest of your body. Your muscles also get stronger as you use them more often. Your immune system is no different. Doctors have found that exercise can boost your immune system by providing a boost to the cells in your body that are assigned to attack bacteria. As a result, if you exercise, your immune system is better equipped to handle bacteria that could cause you to become sick.[4]

Some effect but simple cardio workouts you could try include walking, running, swimming, cycling or dancing, to name a few. You don’t need to overdo it in order to reap the benefits; half an hour a day of moderate exercise is enough to keep your body healthy.

 

What to remember

A healthy lifestyle is the basis of a healthy body, and will do a lot to ensure your immunity. Remembering to keep topped up on essential vitamins and minerals will also go a long way too. Nobody enjoys feeling under the weather, so keep in mind what a difference your diet, sleep pattern and exercise routine can make when it comes to immunity.

 

 

 

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[1] http://theconversation.com/a-strong-immune-system-helps-ward-off-colds-and-flus-but-its-not-the-only-factor-99512

 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/

[4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system