The immune system is constantly active, trying to figure out which cells belong to your body and those that are foreign. This means that the immune system needs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals to keep its energy up and functioning.
On the whole, the immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms, but sometimes it fails, then a germ invades successfully and makes you sick.
And the question remains; Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system?
It would not be easy to fully explain this amazing and complex part of the body, but the immune system is an amazing array of biological structures and processes that function together in a coordinated manner to protect against disease.
It includes the thymus; bone marrow, lymphoid tissues and organs, and a number of cells that help fight off invaders.
Without the immune system, we would not have made much past the first few days of our life. To keep this amazing, often overlooked part of your body up and working strong, try and observe the following ways to boost our immune system.
Healthy Ways To Strengthen and Boost Your Immune System
The immune system is precisely a system, not a single entity, and to function well, it requires balance and synchronization. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the interconnectedness of the immune response, but that doesn’t mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren’t intriguing and shouldn’t be studied.
The effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans has been studied, and links have been observed.
As a general rule, healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the boost it requires.
Your immune system, as well as every part of your body, functions better when protected from environmental detrimental factors and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as the following:
- Don’t smoke: smoking undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia in everyone.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which will provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs. A study showed that increasing fruit and vegetable intake improve one’s antibody response to the Pneumovax vaccine, which protects against Streptococcus pneumonia.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight, as the need for physical exercise and a healthy weight cannot be overemphasized.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation, since excessive consumption impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to infections.
- Get adequate sleep and rest, and try to minimize stress. Sleep deprivation and stress overload increase the hormone cortisol, prolonged elevation of which suppresses immune function.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly, and go for the garlic, which is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Add it to foods just before serving.
- Enjoy the sun since sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D, and a few foods contain this vitamin. Low vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection, and vitamin D reduced the risk of influenza A in kids.
- Try immune-supportive herbs such as eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticocus), Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), or astragalus (A. Membranaceus), especially, if you get recurrent infections.
Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different mechanisms of actions and microbes.
The body is continually generating immune cells and produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use, and no one knows the number of cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death (apoptosis).
Diet And Your Immune System
Like any good fighting force, the immune system army or warriors need good regular nourishment. It is a known fact that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition’s effect on the immune system, however, is not certain, but there is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies alter the immune system.
For example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E, alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube, but the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed.
Thus, if you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, then learn to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement that can help bring other health benefits, beyond any possible beneficial effects on the immune system.
A Harvard study showed that people who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for two weeks had 10x more virus-fighting interferon in their bloodstream than others who drank a placebo.
L-theanine is the amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost and is abundant in both black and green tea. Several cups daily of tea will help to give your immune system some boosts. You can even try moringa tea for a bigger boost.
For centuries, people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system, and studies have now shown that mushrooms enhance the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive.
This is a good thing when you have an infection. Experts recommend at least ¼-ounce to 1-ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits.
Eat medicinal mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake because a recent study showed that a concentrated extract of shiitake enhanced immune function in women with breast cancer.
Finally, Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living, as it improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, plays a good role in controlling body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.
It is believed that, just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to the general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely, without which, they will not be able to do their job efficiently.