Having a strong immune system keeps you from getting diseases and viruses. With the scare of the COVID-19 pandemic nowadays, it is important that we stay healthy and safe. Eating nourishing food and keeping a healthy lifestyle prevents you from getting sick. Keep reading for ways on how to boost your immune system.
How Does the Immune System Work?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the immune system is a complex system in the body. It is made up of cells in your skin, blood, bone marrow, and organs, when working the way they should. The overall function of the immune system is to prevent or limit infection in the body.
Your immune system should fight off pathogens, which are viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies, that may cause infection or disease. There are numerous cells in the immune system. Each of them has their own functions that play an important role, communicating and performing their functions.
Ways to Keep Immune System Healthy
To protect your body from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign bodies, you must learn how to keep your immune system healthy. Prevention is still better than cure, as they say. There are many ways to have a strong immune system. Here are some of the steps you can take:
1. Take Vitamins that Boost the Immune System
The first step in having a strong immune system is watching what you put into your body. You should look for foods that are rich in minerals and vitamins so that you can ward off any viruses and bacterias. Here are the 3 best vitamins to boost your immune system:
- Vitamin C.
This is the best booster vitamin that is essential to the body. It is easy to find foods that are rich in vitamin C. People who lack vitamin C are more prone to getting sick. Citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi, red bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach are some foods that you should take note of.
- Vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 brings a lot of health benefits to the body. This vitamin is a vital part of the biochemical reaction of your immune system. Your body cannot produce vitamin B6 so it must be obtained in foods and supplements. You should look for meat such as salmon, tuna, chicken, and red meats. Green vegetables are also rich in Vitamin B6.
- Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is another compound that is vital in the immune system. It contains antioxidants that help the body fight off infections. Food that contains vitamin E are nuts like almonds, seeds, and spinach.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
You should maintain a proper diet if you want to boost your immune system. Pick foods that are rich in minerals and vitamins that help boost the immune system. Your body should have at least vitamins and minerals such as zinc, folate, iron, vitamins A, C, E, B6, and B12.
Here are some healthy foods that you can add to your diet:
- Sunflower seeds
- Green tea
3. Keeping Stress Under Control
Stress is a biological response of the body to demanding situations. This usually comes from work, financial pressures, relationships, and other situations. When stressed, the body will release hormones, such as cortisol. Stress for a short period of time is not dangerous however, chronic stress or prolonged stress is could be dangerous. Stress reduces the immune systems ability to fight off pathogens.
There are several ways that you can reduce stress. Speaking to friends and family may help. You can also practice meditation techniques, breathing exercises, and yoga. You can also walk, run, and play sports.
4. Exercise Regularly
The benefits gained from exercise are more than just weight loss. Regular exercise improves overall health, from physical to emotional well-being. Having a regular physical routine can lower your risk of cancer and stroke. You can also have better cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, and slowing of bone density loss. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. This is a great way of managing your stress resulting in a strong immune system.
5. Moderate Your Consumption of Alcohol
Excessive drinking is dangerous to overall health. Alcohol weakens the immune system and it can put the body more at risk to infections and slows down the body’s ability to recover. If you drink every day, or almost every day, you might be more susceptible to catch colds or the flu frequently. As recommended, you should limit yourself to drinking on the weekend with an occasional glass of wine during the week.
6. Avoid Smoking or Quit Smoking
Carbon monoxide, nicotine, nitrogen oxides, and cadmium are components of cigarettes. These can all interfere with the growth and function of the immune cells. Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoking.
7. Practice Proper Hygiene and Correct Hand-washing
This could be your best defense for your immune system. Proper hygiene and frequently washing your hands helps prevent the spread of germs.
Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are the five steps to wash your hands that you should follow every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lathe the back of your hands, between fingers, and under the nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under the running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
With today’s health crisis, it is important that we have a strong immune system. A strong immune system keeps you healthy and prevents you from getting bacteria and viruses. We should be mindful of our lifestyles to keep our immune system healthy and strong.