The majority of the people overlook the fact that how genuinely effective our immune system is at protecting against diseases. While they complain of having ‘weak’ immune systems, it is their lifestyle that makes it worse. In the midst of the COVID 19 outbreak, people with a weak immune system are at risk of getting affected by the virus. Our immune system is responsible for warding off viruses and germs from entering our body and protecting against diseases. Therefore, it is important to take every measure possible to ensure that your immune system remains strong.
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How do lifestyle changes help strengthen overall immunity?
Germs and viruses can invade your body any time, but this invasion only happens occasionally in healthy people. An annoying headache, skin eruption, a sensitive gut, an itchy throat, or a sniffle, all are our body’s way of communicating something isn’t right. The intensity of these messages is different in different individuals. But do you ever wonder why this happens and what’s the root cause behind it? Doctors claim that it is our lifestyle that is taking a serious toll on our health and they are right. In the day and age where people lead busy lifestyles, they have no time to look after themselves. Even the slightest change in your lifestyle (in a healthy way) can prove beneficial for your immune system in the long run.
With that said, in this post, we will discuss the healthy ways to build your immune system and lead a healthy and happy life.
How to increase your immunity in a healthy way?
The first line of defense is choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. When we say a healthy lifestyle, it is not just limited to eating healthy and nutritious food. Consider the following healthy living strategies that you can implement for a better and healthy life. Also while there are medications and supplements that can help, it is always advised to opt for natural ways.
#1 Diet and Immune System
Your immune system’s health and your diet go hand-in-hand. In simple terms, good nutrition is the key to a strong immune system that may provide protection against seasonal illness and other health problems. Your gut is the center of your health, acting as a gatekeeper to the rest of your body and training your immune system. Keeping your gut healthy means keeping your immune system healthy. Therefore, you must include foods in your diets that are gut-friendly, such as probiotics, fermented and cultured foods, and sprouted vegetables. Moreover, you will also need to increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods that can help fight against cell damage and body invaders. You should consume a balanced diet that contains protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help support immune response and play a role in healthful eating style.
#2 Workout and Immune System
There is a compelling link between exercise and the body’s defense system. Exercise helps your immunity perform at a high level. Taking a daily walk, practicing yoga or following a regular exercise routine can help decrease your chances of developing any health issues. Exercise improves the flow of blood through the cardiovascular system, helping in flushing the germs and toxins from the body via the excretory system in the form of sweat and urine. This may reduce your chance of getting flu, cold, or other illness.
According to health experts, regular exercise helps in the production and strengthening of white blood cells (WBCs) that fight diseases. Exercise helps WBCs to circulate more rapidly, allowing them to detect harmful organisms before they can cause any problem.
It is important that you include daily exercise (even a 30-minute walk will also work) in your lifestyle to ensure that your immune system is in a superior condition.
#3 Sleep and Immune System
Healthy sleep is the pillar of healthy living. Insufficient sleep or sleep deprivation can affect your immune system and may increase your likelihood of getting sick. Research shows that people who are sleep deprived or don’t get quality sleep are more prone to developing disease after being exposed to a virus. On the other hand, lack of sleep will also influence how quickly you recover after getting sick.
A protein called cytokines is released by your immune system when your body is in sleep mode. This protein is responsible for fighting infection or inflammation, and therefore, its production needs to be increased when you are under the influence of a virus. Lack of sleep may reduce the production of cytokines.
So, irrespective of your busy schedule, you need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. It will not only keep your immune system healthy but also keep you active throughout the day.
#4 Smoking and Immune System
The negative effects of cigarette smoking are well documented, with doctors, medical researchers, and health professionals all agreeing that tobacco products are injurious to health. Stroke, COPD, lung cancer, heart disease – these are a few of the many conditions linked to smoking.
Smoking lessens your body’s immune response to the extent that your body stops responding to invasions. This is because tobacco damages practically every system in your body, making you feel harder to shake even illnesses that are no big deal to most healthy individuals.
#5 Stress and the Immune System
If you are going through some stressful times in life, you need to know that it can have a significant impact on both your physical and mental health. Being stressed can hinder the effectiveness of your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria. Apart from affecting your immune system, stress can lead to sleep problems, high blood pressure, depression, and cardiovascular problems like stroke and heart attack.
Chronic stress can have a bad impact on your health, the most notorious ones being autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. When you are feeling stressed, your body produces more cortisol (a hormone released to curb stress) that can cause your body to struggle to normalize its inflammatory response and attack itself. This will impair your immune health, and it won’t be able to produce more white blood cells in the body.
There are a lot of reasons to be feeling stressed. From money problems to demanding jobs, relationship breakdowns, and more, one can be stressed due to any reason. But it is important that you curb it as soon as possible by talking to your loved ones or seeking professional help.
#6 Age and Immune System
Aging is one of the reasons for the weakening of immune health. As we age, our body cells tend to get weaker, and the production of new cells becomes slow. This is the reason why old people tend to get easily sick and take time to heal. While there is no solution to the aging issue, there are things you can do to slow down the process of aging. The primary factor is a lifestyle change, which is something we have already discussed in depth in the above segments. Aging is a natural phenomenon, and you cannot do anything about it. But with certain lifestyle modifications, you can make aging a pleasant experience. From eating healthy to doing regular exercise, quitting bad habits like drinking and smoking, avoiding being stressed, following healthy sleeping practices, can help you cope with the aging process.
#7 Medical Conditions and Immune System
Medical conditions like diabetes, heart conditions, joint problems, or even cancer, can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system health. Therefore, extreme measures have to be taken to keep your health in check. When you are already suffering from a medical condition, it hinders your body’s ability to ward off viruses and germs. This can cause you to suffer from cold, flu, and sore throat more often as compared to others. So, you need to take the necessary medications as well as other appropriate measures to keep your health and immune system in check.
With the above-mentioned lifestyle changes, you can make your immune system stronger. While you may find it difficult to implement these changes, taking one step at a time will not only make it easier for you to ward off viruses and other bacteria but also keep you healthier for a better tomorrow.