Are you feeling under the weather lately? It can be a clear indication of your immune system not working correctly. Immunity is the first-line defence system that protects your body from disease-causing organisms, pathogens.
In this article, you will get to know about ten ways to increase your body’s immunity. Most of the ways are related to a healthy & disciplined lifestyle.
So, let’s get started.
10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Immunity
1. Get Your Consistent Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in strengthening the immune system. Studies suggested people sleeping less than 6 hours are more susceptible to illness. For adults, 7 to 8 hours of consistent sleep is a must. Teens & younger children require 8 to 12 hours of sleep.
While sleeping, your body produces proteins that help in fighting infections. This way, the immunity of your body increases. Thus, an inadequate amount of sleep can cause you to catch a cold or suffer illness.
If you are facing trouble getting sound sleep, avoid using mobiles, TVs, or laptops before sleeping. The reason being fluorescent light emitted from their screens can interfere with your normal sleep cycle. So, it’s better to limit your screen time, read good books, and meditate before sleeping and sleeping on the best mattress to avoid back or neck pain, which can cause discomfort.
Summary – Insufficient amount of sleep may increase your risk of getting sick. In general, adults require 7 to 8 hours of continuous sleep.
2. Include More Plant-Based Foods
Include more unprocessed, seasonal & whole plant-based foods in your diet. The reason being antioxidants present in these food helps in reducing inflammation. These antioxidants fight unstable compounds (free radicals), which causes inflammation. This way, these foods help in boosting your immunity.
Fibres in plant-based foods help your digestive system by feeding gut bacteria (beneficial kind of bacteria). Good gut health helps in preventing harmful disease-causing organisms in the digestive tract.
Nuts, seeds, legumes, spinach, garlic, broccoli, almonds, mushrooms, green tea, citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc.), seasonal vegetables, lentils & pulses are some of the examples of plant-based, unprocessed & whole foods.
Summary – Antioxidants present in plant-based foods foods lower susceptibility to illness.
3. Spare Time for Exercise or Yoga & Meditation
Moderate exercise, yoga & meditation are powerful means of strengthening your immune system. A minimum of 30 minutes a day for exercise or yoga slows down the release of stress hormones. Stress hormones hamper the effectiveness of the immune system.
A regular and moderate exercise or yoga is a must for everyone. Regular practice results in a lasting effect on the body; otherwise, the body returns to its normal mode within a few hours after the exercise. A human body requires moderate exercise; else, too much workout can make you vulnerable to viruses & weaken the immunity.
Physical activity of any kind helps increase macrophages, specialised cells for attacking bacteria that can cause respiratory ailments. Exercise also improves the flow of lymphatic fluid (white blood cells) that travel through cells & removes waste and toxins.
Yoga & meditation helps in the calming nervous system by reducing inflammation. So, let’s aim for 150 minutes per week for physical activity. Jogging, swimming, brisk walking & cycling can also be considered good physical activity options.
Summary – Sit less, move more. Indulge yourself in at least thirty minutes of exercise or yoga.
4. Take Care of Your Vitamin’s Intake
The immune system consists of T-cells, crucial white blood cells which play a role in the immune response. T-cells require vitamin supply for proper functioning.
Vitamins help the immune system by supporting cell functions & protecting against the state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a long-term stress condition caused by obesity, smoking, pollution, alcohol, sun exposure, medications, etc.
You can have chicken, hummus, cold-water fish, eggs, milk for vitamin B; nuts, seeds & spinach for vitamin E; citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli & potatoes for vitamin C; and milk, fatty acids, or regulated sunlight exposure for vitamin D.
Summary – Take care of your vitamin intake, which in turn helps the immune response to function correctly.
5. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Proper hygiene habits help the immune system to get less affected by the onslaught of germs. Skin is an essential & largest body organ of the body. It helps in building immunity by acting as a barrier between germs & your body. Proper hygiene helps in the excellent care of your skin.
Brushing your teeth twice a day, cleaning your tongue with a tongue cleaner, washing your hands before eating, bathing regularly, trimming nails, oiling your hairs & body, etc., are some of the good hygienic habits.
Summary – Poor hygienic habits can increase the susceptibility to illness.
6. Good Gut Health With Probiotics & Prebiotics
Gut health refers to the proper function of bacteria in parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. GI tract is the tract joining the mouth to anus, including all the digestive system (throat, food pipe, stomach, small & large intestine, rectum). These organs work together that allows us to eat & digest properly.
Prebiotic foods are specialised plant fibres that help grow already existing bacteria in your gut system. Garlic, radish, tomato, onion, bananas, etc., are some examples of prebiotic foods.
Probiotic foods are living bacteria, which add to the population of good bacteria in your gut system. These probiotics are present in fermented foods. Dahi (curd), idli & dosa (rice cake & thin pancake), kadhi (gram flour & buttermilk-based gravy), and homemade pickles are some of the examples of probiotics foods.
Thus, prebiotic & probiotic foods help maintain good gut health, which makes you less exposed to viral diseases. You can also improve the health of your gut bacteria by eating whole & unprocessed foods.
Summary – Healthy gut bacteria (present in prebiotics & fermented foods) decrease the chances of diseases.
7. Avoid Smoking & Drinking
Smoking & drinking are some of the critical reasons for the weak immunity. In the lungs, alcohol damages the immunity cells that have the job of clearing disease-causing organisms out of airways. Smoking stresses the lungs, which in turn disturb the balance needed to protect from diseases.
So, avoid smoking & drink alcohol in moderation is the key to boost your immune system.
Summary – Respiratory ailments due to smoking & drinking weakens the immunity response.
8. Limit Your Sugar Intake
Studies suggested that added sugars & refined foods may contribute to overweight problems. And in a group of about 100 people, obese people are more likely to fall sick than those without obesity.
If you reduce added sugar intake, you are less likely to get inflammation & lesser health ailments, thus improving immunity.
Examples of processed added sugars are cakes, pastries, biscuits, readymade juices, chocolates, brownies, cupcakes, ice creams, etc. It’s better to limit their intake.
You can include good sugar in your diet. Sugarcane & its derivatives, seasonal fruits, coconut water, homemade laddoos, barfi and halwa, and jaggery are some examples of good sugar.
Summary – Keep track of your processed sugar intake. Instead, include good sugar on your plate.
9. Intake Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats. These fatty acids regulate the production & secretion of cytokines (the category of protein that helps in cell signalling). Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of these fatty acids, it helps improve the immune system.
Intake of omega-3 acids is vital for the brain & retinas. Particularly important for pregnant women to consume enough quantity of DHA, a component of omega-3 fatty acids, as it can influence the health & intelligence of the baby.
Walnuts, fatty fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil and fish oil are examples of omega-3 fatty acids.
Summary – Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats, which helps in boosting the immune response.
10. Lead a Stress-Free Life With Positive Approach
High stress results in increased secretion of cortisol (stress hormones), which can trigger inflammation. Higher levels of cortisol result in a decrease of white blood cells, which are available to face an onslaught of infection (sores, cold, etc.)
Studies proved that positive thinkers get less likely to get heart ailments than negative thinkers. Negative thinking gives rise to high-stress situations, which can cause an imbalance in cell functions & thus immune system.
Slow, deep, and controlled breathing from the diaphragm help relax your body. These breathing techniques help in lowering cortisol levels, improve blood flow & regulate blood pressure.
Reading good books & watching positive content on social media is also one of the positive approaches.
Summary – Include positive changes in your lifestyle, which reflect the improvement of the immunity system.
Drink enough water
Hydration is good for overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches, mood changes, digestion problems, and heart & kidney ailments. Limit intake of juice or tea because of high sugars. You should drink enough water to make your urine pale yellow. It is advised to drink a sufficient amount of water when thirsty.
Avoid excess medications
Medicines & antibiotics help in recovering diseases but do not improve immunity. People consuming excess medications tend to decrease levels of cytokines, hormone messenger of the immune system.
Now, you are aware of the ways of increasing the defense levels of your body. But if you closely observe all these ways, these are all directly or indirectly a part of a healthy lifestyle. Following these tips in your diet & life will help you in the long run.
I hope you find the article helpful. What other ways do you know to increase immunity? Do mention in comments below.