Boost Your Immune System
Your body is a complex machine made of many systems that must work together to run smoothly. Each system has a specific role to fulfill and anything off can result in a breakdown. One system works to keep your circulation going, another system provides structure, while still another provides support.
One of these systems defends your body against illness and disease - your immune system. It is made up of cells in your blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs that work together to provide your body protection against bacteria and viruses.
Like in all the other systems in the body, it’s important to keep all the components in your immune system perfectly tuned so it performs its job perfectly. Any imbalance can make your body vulnerable to the pathogens that it’s exposed to every single day.
More than ever people are looking for ways to bolster their immunity to make them better equipped to fight off disease. Keep in mind that practicing proper hygiene and observing social distancing are still the best ways to protect yourself against catching viruses from others.
However, the tips we outline below can help make your immune system stronger and delay the onset of aging.
Boost Your Immune System - Get Enough Good Quality Sleep
Adequate sleep is critical for a healthy immune system. Prolonged sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to sickness.
When you sleep, your body produces and distributes key immune cells, including T cells (white blood cells that regulate immune response) and cytokines (a kind of protein that fights or promotes inflammation depending on what response is needed by the body).
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to produce adequate amounts of these cells, and your body becomes less able to defend itself against harmful pathogens. This makes you more likely to get sick when exposed to bacteria or viruses.
Lack of sleep can also elevate your cortisol levels. Prolonged elevation of cortisol levels wears down your immune system making it less robust to fight off or recover from illness.
How much sleep is adequate?
Adults - 7 or more hours of sleep at night
Teens - 8 to 10 hours of sleep
Young children and infants - up to 14 hours of sleep
Our Tip - Practice good sleep hygiene. Shut off your TV, computer, or phone at least an hour before bedtime. Avoid stressful reading materials or conversations as well.
Boost Your Immune System - Eat a Healthy Diet
Here’s the perfect example of the often repeated line - “you are what you eat”. A healthy diet keeps your immune system in great condition and lets it do its job of fighting off infections.
A diet that includes whole plant foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, plus healthy fats from fatty fish and olive can boost your immune system.
These foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help your body fight against harmful pathogens. The antioxidants in these foods help combat free radicals which can cause inflammation when allowed to build up in your body at high levels.
While we still need protein, it also helps to limit intake of meat, especially those that have been processed, as well as fried foods. These are considered inflammatory.
Include fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, and kefir in your daily diet. Eighty percent of your immune system is in the gut. These foods are rich in probiotics which help keep your gut healthy.
Boost Your Immune System - Exercise Regularly
Working out is a great way to boost your immune system. It encourages blood circulation which causes the antibodies and white blood cells in your body to circulate more efficiently. This means they are able to detect and fight any harmful bacteria or virus more quickly.
Exercising also releases endorphins, the hormones responsible for reducing the sensation of pain and increasing feelings of pleasure. These endorphins help manage stress, which can negatively impact your immune system. The more stressed you are, the less you are able to fight off those bugs.
Boost Your Immune System - Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D from the Sun
Exposing yourself to the rays of the sun does a lot to boost your mood. However, sunlight also triggers your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. And it does not take much - just a 10 to 15 minute exposure a day is enough for your daily dose.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity and can make you more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Important tip - when going for your daily dose, don’t forget to wear your sunscreen.
Boost Your Immune System - Supplement Wisely
These days, people have been trying all kinds of supplements that claim to protect from viruses. We wish that fighting a specific virus were as easy as this. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support that any supplement can do this.
There are studies, however, that these supplements can boost your immune system:
Read here for more information on beneficial vitamins and best beauty vitamins.
Boost Your Immune System - Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress can literally make you sick. When your body is under constant stress (or anxiety), it responds by producing hormones that suppress the immune system. It also produces molecules called cytokines which cause inflammation. These factors make the body more vulnerable to bacteria or viruses.
Stress can also affect how you deal with daily life. You are more likely to eat unhealthily, such as binge eating junk food, or you may get less quality sleep. These can affect immunity and make you more susceptible to sickness.
While stress cannot be avoided, it is important to learn how to manage it. Exercising, practicing yoga, or meditation are great stress relievers.
Boost Your Immune System - Stop Smoking
No one needs to tell you this - smoking is bad for your body. The chemicals in cigarette smoke, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and cadmium interfere with the growth and function of immune cells, and this makes you more vulnerable to sickness.
If you are a heavy smoker, the effects of viral and bacterial infections may be worse than if you don’t smoke. Avoid second hand smoke because this can be as bad as smoking yourself.
Boost Your Immune System - Drink Moderately
The occasional drink is okay, but heavy drinking can lower your immune function. Your body works overtime to detoxify your body of alcohol and can weaken its ability to fight any infection. It can also affect your body’s ability to recover from sickness.
People who drink heavily are more likely to contract pneumonia or accrue respiratory distress syndrome, liver disease, and certain cancers.
What’s the daily limit?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the limit is one drink (equivalent to a 4-oz glass of wine) a day for women, and two drinks per day for men, although this for men has recently been lowered to one a day.
Boost Your Immune System - Stay Hydrated
While not directly linked to immunity boost, staying well hydrated ensures that your body is able to perform its normal functions well. Dehydration can affect your heart, kidneys, and your digestive system. It can cause headaches and fatigue. These effects can make you more susceptible to illness.
Drink six to eight glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. Water is still the best source of hydration because it’s calorie free and, more importantly, additive and sugar free as well.
Skin Theory Aesthetics - A Holistic Approach to Beauty
Beauty is more than skin deep. When you practice a healthy lifestyle, your body is not only able to protect itself from diseases, it can also delay the onset of aging. When your body is healthy, it shows on your skin.
At Skin Theory Aesthetics, we specialize in cosmetic treatments that are good for your skin, your body, and your spirit!
Call us at (951) 735-5570 to schedule a consultation.
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