Is it possible to improve your immune system?
There is no magical cure-all to shield us from every germ, but there are some simple ways to help our immune systems. With dietary and lifestyle changes, we can help strengthen our bodies and our natural defenses against harmful pathogens and disease-causing organisms.
So, while these changes might not block every germ, these simple tips are great ways to help boost your immune health.
Your diet can have a tremendous effect over your immune system. Take care of your body with whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
Of course, if you find it difficult to get all your micronutrient needs — perhaps you don’t like vegetables very much — you could supplement your diet with a mutivitamin.
New, emerging research suggests that refined carbs like added sugars might contribute to individuals being obese. Obesity, and conditions tied to it like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, can all weaken your immune system and increase your risk of getting sick.
Seriously, sleep your way to a stronger immune system. Inadequate or poor sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness. In other words, if you don’t get the sleep your body needs, you’re way more likely to get sick.
Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every night, while teens should aim for 8-10 hours and younger children need up to 14 hours.
Limit screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted from phones, TVs, and computer screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Try exercising regularly, having a bedtime routine, and sleeping in a completely dark room if you find it difficult to fall asleep at night.
Relieving stress and anxiety is key to boosting your immune health! The mind has a powerful effect over our physical well-being, and it’s no different when it comes to stress.
Long-term stress promotes inflammation, and creates an imbalance in immune cell function. In fact, prolonged stress can actually suppress the immune response.
To combat stress and anxiety, try yoga, regular exercise, meditation, and other mindfulness practices. You could also benefit greatly from seeing a licensed counselor or therapist.
Many companies claim that their products can treat or prevent illness, but it’s important to remember that those claims aren’t always true. However, they can strengthen your general immune response, if taken correctly.
For instance, vitamin C or zinc won’t prevent a cold, but they could help reduce the duration. There is some research pointing to the effectiveness of elderberry reducing symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, or garlic helping individuals recover prevent colds, but more research is definitely needed.
Make sure you do your research and listen to licensed professionals (like your doctor!) before loading up on extra supplements.