Your immune system is a remarkable machine that keeps your entire system safe and defend your body against diseases and microorganisms. However, just like any other machine, your immune system can become weakened, overwhelmed and fail. A weakened immune system can easily allow the invading germs to have access to parts of your body or your entire systems and make you sick. In this article we will be looking at ways to make your immune system stronger and always be on guard to protect you. These proven daily habits and activities can help to unlock the powers of your immune system, help your body ward off any illnesses and help you stay healthier and happier.
Another reason to adopt these daily habits is that you are going to get sick at some point, either because you let your guard down or because you have come in contact with a powerful and tricky invader, strong enough to overcome your system and gain entry into your body. The simple truth is that even the strongest immune system may sometimes becomes weakened, and we all get sick every now and then. However you are less likely to become sick if you adopt a healthy lifestyle, and if you do get sick (which will happen), the severity and longevity of the illness will depend on the strength of your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off the invading microbes. Keep in mind that communicable diseases such as those caused by the influenza virus are highly contagious and have no cure other than to run their course, so taking preventative measures and using various immune-boosting tips becomes even more important.
In order to strengthen your immune system, you must eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats every day. A research study titled ” Effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on immune function in older people: a randomized controlled trial”, published in 2012 by American Society for Nutrition showed that diets rich in fruit and vegetables improved the Pneumovax II vaccination antibody response in older people. The result of the study, in effect, links the achievable dietary goal with improved immune function. A key point to remember is that any kind of nutritional deficiency can result in more frequent and prolonged illnesses. In addition to eating the right foods, you also need to eat the right quantity. If you are overweight, then you need to watch your portion sizes. However, do not starve yourself, or skip meals, and do not try any drastic weight loss program – slow and steady weight loss is the key. Feed your body with nutritionally dense foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants to boost your immune system.
Relax or meditate
There is no doubt that stress overload suppresses our immune system. Studies have shown that meditation and other relaxation techniques, including prayer and chanting can help to lower your cortisol level and boost your body’s self-defense system. Meditation boosts antibodies. A recent study titled “Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation”, published in the 2003 July-August edition of Psychosom Med, showed that after having weekly meditation training for 8 weeks, 48 workers had considerably higher levels of antibodies than their coworkers who did not meditate. Relaxation could be as simple as getting some quiet time for yourself, avoiding those unwanted and intrusive sounds or other noisy and chaotic environments that can trigger your adrenaline and other stress hormones.
Listen to music
Listening to music can help to boost your immune system. Scientists have discovered that the pleasurable experience of listening to music can greatly enhance your immune system, and may help fight off diseases. Also, when you listen to music like classical or any of your favorite music for that matter, those parts of the brain that are generally activated by food, drug and sex are also stimulated. Activities such as listening to music or playing a musical instrument causes the brain to releases neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins) in the brain – those natural happy chemicals that are released during pleasurable activities.
Smile and laugh more
Have you heard about laughter therapy, also known as humor therapy? This is the use of humor and laughter to relieve stress and promote overall health and wellness. The idea is to use the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical discomfort and painful emotions like anger and grief. A good laugh helps to decreases the amount of stress hormones in the body which in turn helps to increase the type of white blood cell that fights infection. Remember how you felt the last time you watched a funny comedy? Those kinds of feelings can also help to increase circulation in your body, stimulates digestion, lowers blood pressure and relax those tense muscles.
Exercise and move your body
Regular moderate exercise is one of the best investment you can make to boost your immune system. Regular physical activity can strengthen your cardiovascular system, which consists of your heart and blood vessels, and responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. The “Guidelines for Prescribing Exercise” set in 2010 by the American College of Sports Medicine recommends increasing your exercise duration and intensity, as well as incorporating interval training into your workout routine in order to improve your cardiovascular fitness. In addition, stretching exercises and yoga can help to stimulates the lymphatic system and increases the level of leukocytes in the body, which makes your body better equipped to fights infections.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation and fatigue increase the level of cortisol in your system, and prolonged elevation of this stress hormone can suppress your immune functions. Several studies have shown that sleep deprivation can suppress your antibodies and increase inflammation. According to Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago Sleep, Metabolism, & Health Center, “If you sleep deprive an individual, basically nothing remains normal, whether mental or physical. Sleep is a basic need for function at every level.” So, give yourself 7-8 hours of good sleep every night, and make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible at night. Your body produces melatonin when it is really dark. Remember that insufficient sleep depresses the immune system, opening the door to all kinds of microorganisms waiting to attack.
Harness the power of herbs and dietary supplement
There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies can lead to a weak immune system. The following herbs and supplements are some of those that have shown to have great potentials to influence the immune system and enhance resistance to bacterial, viral and fungal infections: garlic, ginger, oregano oil, spirulina, licorice root, probiotics, astragalus, aloe vera, echinacea, selenium, Zinc Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 Vitamin B6, Vitamin C Vitamin D, Vitamin E, as well as many antioxidants nutrients. However, since everyone’s immune system is unique it is advisable to be cautious with dietary supplements and other natural health products, and always consult your health care professional before starting any supplementation program. A good rule of thumb is to never take too much of any particular supplement, no matter how good you think it is, and never take too many different supplements or herbs together at the same time.
Mingle and socialize
Studies have shown that nurturing social supports and having regular social contacts with other people can help to strengthen your immune system. The more connected you feel with others and the more stronger relationships you have, the better you feel both physically and mentally.
Practice the tips and you can be sure that your immune system will work hard to protect you by creating a barrier that stops those microorganisms, antigens or other invaders from entering the body in the first place. And if any organism slips by the barrier, you are certain that your immune system will produces white blood cells, proteins and other fighting agents that can launch an offensive attack and destroy these uninvited guests.