Immune system is our body’s natural defense system that works to fight against harmful pathogens or disease-causing organisms. Maintaining a healthy immune system is vital to protect our body against infection or disease.
There are no shortcuts or magic pills to boost your immune system. Instead, the best way to boost your immunity is through adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet everyday.
Here are 5 simple steps to bear in mind:
1.Include more whole plant foods in your diet
Proper immune system requires regular nourishment from good food. Choose whole, unprocessed plant foods such as wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds as they are high in nutrients and antioxidants to help combat harmful pathogens. Avoid processed foods, soft drinks, fried foods, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, fast food and refined starches and sugars which may adversely affect body immune function and cause inflammation in your body.
2.Get plenty of good quality sleep
Sleep quality and immunity are closely related. In fact, inadequate and poor sleep quality is related to a higher chance of getting illness. Long term sleep deprivation has been proven to increase risk of certain health issues like obesity and diabetes.
Getting adequate rest may strengthen your immunity naturally thus helping to combat the illness better. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep daily. Teens should sleep at least 8 to 10 hours while younger children and infants should have about 14 hours of sleep everyday.
For those who face difficulties in falling asleep, try to adopt some habits like listening to soothing music, drinking herbal teas like chamomile, hibiscus, that help relax the body. It may also help to keep the room dark and comfortable, and as well, exercise regularly. All these may help you achieve better sleep quality.
3. Exercise regularly
Excessively heavy and long term vigorous exercise can actually weaken the immune system. On the other hand, regular, moderate exercise like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, riding a bike, dancing, and light hiking is a great way to boost your immune system. Exercise can also help to relieve stress and lessen the risk of getting osteoporosis, heart diseases, and certain types of cancer.
Studies have shown that there is a study indicating that older adults who are habitually physically active had a better antibody response compared to healthy adults who do not exercise. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week.
4. Eat more healthy fats
Increase the intake of healthy fats with strong anti-inflammatory effects, including olive oil, avocados, walnuts and chia seeds. Since chronic inflammation can weaken your immune system and increase risks of getting a wide range of diseases, fats that possess anti-inflammatory properties could strengthen your body’s immune efficacy to fight pathogens.
Studies also show that olive oil not only helps to reduce the chance of getting chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, it may enhance your body’s ability to fight disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
5. Get a laugh
While increased stress is linked with declined immune response, laughing is a good way to relieve stress. Some studies have indicated that humour may boost infection-fighting antibodies levels in the body and raise the levels of immune cells too. Similarly, positive thoughts can also help release the neuropeptides which fight against stress and illness.