Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Our body is an amazing collection of systems working together to keep us seeing, moving, and thinking. A very important system we do not always consider is our immune system. Our immune system is how our body naturally fights off sickness and infection. Without a healthy immune system, we are prone to colds, flus, viruses, and germs that would like to see our health compromised. It is a good idea to do things that help our body stay strong so that we remain as healthy as possible. These things are not always common practice or even common knowledge, but they're easy enough so that anyone can do them. Here are a few suggestions if you are looking to step up your health game.
1. Get some sleep
It is important to remember that our immune system can be compromised at all aspects of our body. We can get a cut and get an infection. That one is obvious. But our mind plays a part in things as well. Which is why the first practice for boosting your immune system is sleep. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived are more likely to get sick, and may also take longer to recover if they do become sick. Our bodies use the time when we sleep to create proteins and antibodies that fight off sickness, so the less sleep you get, the less time our body has to create these proteins. Getting rest when we're sick suddenly makes more sense, right?
2. Reduce stress
Too much stress is known to cause all kinds of issues, from sleep deprivation to bowel issues. Of course it can compromise your immune system. Studies have overwhelmingly shown that large amounts of stress, both short-term and long-term, reduce the amount of T-cells in the body. T-cells are like little fighters that seek and destroy all enemy cells. If you lack fighter cells, the unwelcome cells of viruses and other invaders become harder to destroy. To help reduce stress levels, make calming activities part of your daily or weekly routine. Yoga and meditation are always great for reducing stress.
3. Eat healthy
I know we're all tired of hearing "eat healthier" as the answer to all the problems in our lives. I wouldn't say it if it weren't true. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and nuts are key to all things health. There is a list of Vitamins and minerals our body uses for our immune system. Getting them all in a balanced meal is giving your body its best chance at having a strong immune system. Vitamin C is probably the one most well known, but it is also important to get Vitamin A, Vitamin E, iron, and Vitamin D. You can get these from citruses, nuts, kale, fatty fish, sweet potatoes, and plenty more.
4. Get some sun
This one is simple. Open your front door and step into the sun. That's all there is to it. Our body uses the sun's rays to make Vitamin D, which we know our body needs to be healthy. Sit out on your porch in the sun for a short while, let's say 10 minutes, and let your body do the work for you.
5. Get some exercise
Why? Because just like eating healthy, exercise is the key to all things good in the world. Adding a moderate workout to your routine keeps your T-cells moving and keeps your body in tip-top shape. Be careful not to work your body too hard. An exhausted body will have trouble defending itself from invader germs.
Also try to quit or limit any bad habits you may have. If you smoke, try to stop. If you drink alcohol excessively, reduce your alcohol intake. These things are known to not only compromise your immune system, but also cause serious damage to your body.
By: Better Me by Dr. B
Editor: Ariel Thompson
Medical Reviewer: Dr. Tiffany Bell D.O.