Ways To Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system is your body's internal defense system. With flu season upon us - in addition to the current global pandemic - its important to make sure that your immune system is strong in order to fight off sickness. Your immune system can be weakened by many factors such as sickness, stress inflammation and poor diet, so it's really important that we have some understanding about how our immune system works, and what we can do to make sure that its in peak condition to do its job.
What is the immune system?
Simply put, your immune system is composed of an army of cells that will defend your body from foreign "intruders" like bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and even food. The immune system is composed of two systems - the Innate Immune System, which is the first line of defense, and the Adaptive Immune System, which is primed by the innate immune system but needs time to respond.
The Innate Immune System is composed of physical barriers such as the skin, and the intestinal lining inside of our bodies, while The Adaptive Immune System is the home to antibody producing cells that kill the "intruders".
What can we do?
So, how can we improve the function and assist our immune system in the major job that it has to do? There are some simple things that we can do in order to help our immune system function well, and keep us healthy not just during cold and flu season, but throughout our daily lives.
Feed your body healthy foods. Having a healthy diet full of foods that provide your body with vitamins and minerals is a sure way to keep your immune system working properly. One of the best ways to get the nutrients that our bodies need in order to be healthy and do what it's naturally supposed to do is through our diet. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, and reducing your intake of processed foods, sugar, alcohol and other irritants is one of the best and easiest ways to boost your immune system.
Take a probiotic. Did you know that your intestines are home to 70% of your immune system? Its important that our digestive system is working well because your digestive system rids the body of foreigners and impurities. A probiotic provides your gut, which includes the large and small intestines, with bacteria that supports gut health. Ultimately, when your gut is healthy, your immune system is stronger. Here's my favorite probiotic/prebiotic/digestive enzyme supplement.
Increase your water intake. Water is literally the key to life. Our bodies are composed of 50-75% water, and that decreases as we get older. Drinking enough water helps your body to not only stay hydrated, but it also helps your organs to function well. Water will help flush toxins and impurities out of your body, helping your intestines and digestive system do their job. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water - so if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. In order to make sure that I'm drinking lots of water, I usually carry a refillable water body. This is the one I use.
Get some sleep. A well rested body is a healthy body. Lacking sleep can lead to many issues including decreased immunity, risk of disease, increased aging, over eating, poor food choice - which all leads back to a weak immune system. Ideally, you should try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Reduce your stress level. Stress can literally make your body sick. When we are experiencing higher levels of stress, our bodies begin to produce increased levels of cortisol, which makes us crave carbs, increases our appetite and stores fat around our midsection. When we are craving and consuming foods that don't truly benefit us, our immune system can become weakened. Its important to make time during the day to rest, relax and unwind, and to simply breathe.
Stay active. Exercise not only keeps your body healthy, but it is another way that the body releases toxins by sweating. When we exercise, we also help our body to stay in motion, which, in turn, helps our digestive system to function well.
Be Clean. This should go without saying, but sometimes these things do have to be said. Make sure that you are physically staying clean and hygienically sound. Be sure to wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, and maintain personal space. Also, be sure to keep your environment tidy to reduce stress levels and to just maintain an overall lifestyle of cleanliness.
It's just that simple.
Boosting your immune system isn't complete rocket science. In fact, having a strong immune system is something that our bodies are created to do naturally. Many times, our lifestyle choices and circumstances are what causes it to be weak. Taking simple steps like the ones listed above are great ways to keep your immune system functioning, and functioning properly! So, take some time to focus on taking good care of yourself.
Stay well, friends.