If these past two years have taught us anything, it’s how important a stable immune system is. A healthy immune system is crucial for your body's ability to ward off viruses, bad bacteria, parasites, and other infections. When your immune system is compromised, you are more susceptible to getting sick.
Our very own choices, habits, and behaviors make a great impact on our health. Depending on those choices, they can either help or hurt our endlessly important immune system. Rather than waiting until it is too late to strengthen our immunity, take action now with preventative care. Below are four ways to strengthen your immune system.
1. Limit The Sugar
Once it reaches our immune system, sugar isn't all that sweet. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about adding a bit of sugar into our coffee or tea; it's fine to satisfy our sweet tooth.
Though, according to the World Health Organization, it can be excessive when we surpass more than 10% of our daily intake. Anything more than that could put us into a state where our immune system is negatively affected. When we go overboard with sugar intake, it repels cells in our immune system that are meant to attack bad bacteria, allowing viruses to spread more freely. So, maybe skip the processed sugar and add some naturally sweetened fruit to fill that craving instead.
2. Get Enough Sleep
There are many benefits to getting a good night's sleep; from feeling sharper to increasing energy levels. A good night's sleep is also good for keeping our immune system safe and working. Studies show that proper rest energizes our body's T-cells to fight off infections. T-cells are immune cells that fight against virus-infected cells known as intracellular pathogens. Some examples include cancer cells and the flu. Once our body detects a virus-infected cell, our T-cells gear up and make their way over to them to fight off and get us feeling better. Lack of rest dwarfs the strength of T-cells, thus, making them less effective. So, don’t feel guilty about listening to your body and getting some extra Z’s.
3. Consume a High-Fiber Diet
As the saying goes, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," the same can be said about fiber-rich foods. Fiber-rich foods can help protect us from numerous health issues - some that include a weakened immune system. Fiber provides nourishment to the billions of "good" bacteria in our gut which are responsible for keeping our immune system in great health. Not sure how to add more fiber into your diet? Try foods like beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
4. Exercise Daily
Moving every day can contribute to a positive immune response, so working out regularly can both boost energy and immunity. Physical fitness pumps up the number of antibodies and white blood cells in our bodies, which are important for the early detection of infections and for fighting them off. When we exercise our body temperature increases. This increase is useful for killing off infections by deterring the growth of bad bacteria. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense physical activity per week.
It’s normal to feel under the weather and catch a cold occasionally, however, if you put the time, effort and energy into maintaining a strong and healthy immune system, you’re more likely to stay out of the doctor’s office and be virus-free.
To learn more about how our Life Plan Community helps residents stay happier and healthier, or to learn more about our integrated approach to wellness including our on-site concierge physicians and personalized healthcare services, please feel free to contact us.