Although some people take for granted that the body will do its job in battling whatever condition comes its way, the immune system of some is more effective than others.
Your diet and lifestyle have a significant impact on your immune system. A less-than-healthy diet and lifestyle can weaken your immune system, while a healthy diet and lifestyle can boost it.Regardless of which category you belong to, here are some ways to strengthen your immune system and to ensure that it works to the best of its abilities.
Through your diet
Did you know that even a single nutrient deficiency can impair your immunity profoundly? Nutrient deficiency is, in fact, the most common cause of a depressed immune system.
A diet rich in whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds will help ensure you get the nutrients you need and is vital to maintaining good health.
While variation is key, the following will get you started on the right track:
Indulge in antioxidant-rich foodsAntioxidants protect the thymus gland which regulates immune responses through a type of white blood cell known as T-Cells. Some T-Cells can directly attack infected or cancerous cells. Unfortunately, the thymus gland is extremely susceptible to free radical and oxidative damage caused by stress, infection, and radiation. Fortunately, antioxidants protect the thymus gland from damage by these free radicals.
What to eat: The vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant properties and are most important for protecting the thymus gland are carotenes (carrots, papaya, broccoli), vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, green vegetables), vitamin E (avocado, prunes, brown rice, wheat germ) zinc (seafood, eggs, pumpkin seeds) and selenium (brazil nuts, whole grains, fish). Alternatively, you can take supplements rich in antioxidants.
Boost Your Immune System Naturally With Omega-3 Essential Fatty AcidsOmega-3 Essential Fatty Acids are healthy fats that your body needs. Since our body can’t produce Omega-3 naturally, we must get these fatty acids from our diet. Apart from supporting your immune system, heart, brain, joints, bones, and skin, Omega-3s can also reduce depressions, inflammations, and encourages the body to fight infection.
What to eat: To increase your intake of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, consume fish oils, krill oils, flaxseed oils, nuts (except for peanuts), seeds, legumes (kidney beans, soybeans, etc), whole grains, and fatty fish such as fresh salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardine or herring.
Consume Probiotics To Help Keep Your Gut HealthyFor those unaware, probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for you. Why? 80% of your immune system resides in your gut, which is why your gut health is important for a strong immune system. Probiotics replenish the good bacteria in your gut and in turn, restores microbial balance in the gut - which helps support a balanced immune system.
What to eat: You can take probiotics as supplements, eat plain yogurt that contains live cultures (always read the label), eat fermented vegetables, or drink fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha.
Eliminate Refined SugarsSugar literally depresses the immune system, as it reduces the absorption of crucial vitamins and minerals. Apart from affecting your immunity negatively, a high sugar intake can contribute to weakened bones or diabetes. By breaking the cravings and stop eating refined sugars, you will see noticeable results in your immunity, energy levels, weight distribution, and ability to think clearly.
Through Your Lifestyle
Minimise Exposure To ToxinsWhile toxins are all over public places, you can control the level of toxins in your household. To minimise skin exposure to unwanted chemicals, try wearing gloves when cleaning and wear a mask to avoid inhaling toxic fumes from products like bleach or oven cleaners. Make sure dishes and glassware are thoroughly rinsed of any residues from toxic dishwashing liquids.
Although slightly pricier, non-toxic cleaning products exist and won’t harm your body. Neither will organic soaps, shampoos, body cream, face oil, or other natural self-care products. Always read labels because anything applied to your body gets absorbed through the skin.
Reduce StressMore than 150 clinical studies have clearly demonstrated how stress suppresses the immune system and contributes to the development of disease and poor health. Basically, stress causes an increase in the cortisol hormone, which then leads to suppressed immunity.
Stress can be dealt with in many ways, such as through stress reduction activities like prayers, deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. Turning on Netflix and watching a comedy can help, too!
Our Relax & Restore: Self-Care Wellness Kit is designed for you with three pillars in mind - Relaxation, Nourishment & Restoration - to help reduce stress and anxiety, increase clarity, joy, and love, providing the deep reset you've been waiting for.
Exercise RegularlyRegular, moderate exercise will strengthen your immune system, whereas intense or extreme exercise may suppress it. When you exercise regularly, you cleanse the body of certain cancer-causing cells and waste products through increased output of urine and sweat. To add to that, the increase in blood flow helps to circulate the white blood cells necessary to fight infection more efficiently.
If you’re new to exercise, find what works best for your body by searching through YouTube and practicing in the comfort of your own home. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer.
Don’t Forget To RestYou’ve probably been told about the importance of sleep before, but have you taken action? Getting enough sleep is literally critical to a healthy immune system. During deep sleep, your body releases potent immune-enhancing substances that strengthen your immune system function. Sufficient deep sleep allows your body to release a significant amount of growth hormones that aid in the repair and growth of the body.
So how many hours exactly are ideal? At least seven hours for full benefits!
Take A Holistic ApproachIn the end, several aspects affect how you feel. That’s why a holistic health approach is the most ideal way to maintaining a healthy immune system. Besides your diet and lifestyle, your emotional health, intellectual health, spiritual health, and social health all play a part in keeping you balanced. Simple tips, like incorporating breathwork into your day-to-day, can help you and your immune system stay healthy.
Introduce A Monthly DetoxA monthly detox may sound extreme but it can work wonders. The best part? You get to choose what type of detox you need and it can change every month. This month you might need a social media detox that entails limiting your hours per day/ week or refraining entirely from social media for a set number of days. Next month you might be craving more of a physical detox that requires you to cut out all refined sugars. Body cleansing is important because our bodies and tissues must be free of toxins for the immune system to function optimally and receive the essential nutrients that it needs.
Whatever you feel that you need the most right now, do it. If you’re struggling to figure out what you need to detox from then try journaling, or maybe a guided meditation. Remember to be patient with yourself (especially if you’re cutting out refined sugar) and to take baby steps.
Are you ready to take control of your health?