There are plenty of products that claim to help boost your immune system. But while it may sound like an obvious option, boosting your immune system is, in actuality, much harder to achieve than you might realize.
Our immune systems are incredibly complex. They must be strong enough to fight off illnesses and infections, but not so strong that they overreact — causing autoimmune disorders to develop. To operate in balance, our immune systems are tightly monitored by a variety of processes.
Despite its complexity, there are lifestyle habits you can practice to give your immune system what it needs to fight off an infection or illness and maintain a healthy balance. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, it’s especially important to understand how to maintain your health without relying on supplements and products. Read below to learn about 5 ways to strengthen your immune system naturally.
Water plays an important role in supporting your immune system. A fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which carries around important infection-fighting immune cells, is mostly made up of water. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph, which then can weaken the immune system. Being dehydrated also causes headaches and impairs physical performance, mood, concentration, digestion, and heart and kidney function - all of which increases your susceptibility to illness.
To help support your immune system, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking enough water daily.
Maintain a Nutritious Diet
A healthy diet is key to a healthy body. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients that play a role in maintaining a strong immune system. These nutrients guard against unstable compounds called free radicals, which can harm your cells and cause inflammation.
To get a wide range of these helpful nutrients, be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Immune System-supporting nutrients like Vitamin B6 can be found in chicken, salmon, tuna, and bananas. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, including oranges and strawberries, as well as broccoli and spinach. Vitamin E is found in nut-based foods, such as almonds, sunflower and safflower oil, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter.
Sleep and immunity are closely linked. Numerous studies have shown that getting adequate rest may strengthen our natural immunity. That’s because when we sleep, vital infection-fighting molecules are created, thereby making us less prone to getting sick after exposure to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold.
To give your immune system the best chance to fight off illnesses, it's important to get about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. If you have trouble getting to bed, try sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, staying away from stimulants like caffeine and alcohol near bedtime, and giving yourself time to relax at the end of the day.
Engaging in exercise is an important part of being healthy and supporting a healthy immune system. In fact, studies show that daily exercise may reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly. It can also relieve stress and make you less prone to osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
Engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day will do the trick. Any type of movement can help: talking a short walk around the block, riding a bike, swimming, doing jumping jacks, etc.
As everyone knows, smoking, in general, is extremely harmful to the body. However, in regard, specifically, to our immune systems, the effects of tobacco smoke are destructive. Some of the effects include greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza, more severe and longer-lasting illnesses, and lower levels of protective antioxidants (such as vitamin C) in the blood.
If possible, try to limit your exposure to tobacco smoke. If you’re a smoker and are having a hard time quitting, talk to your doctor about ways to help you kick the habit.
Take Care Now
At BASS Urgent Care, our team takes our patients’ health very seriously. Give us a call today at (925) 329-3718 to set up an appointment and let one of our amazing staff members help you!