Is it possible to boost your immunity?
There has been a lot of talk about ways to keep our immune system strong and healthy. The fear of contracting infectious diseases has pushed us to find ways to boost our immunity.
Unfortunately, there’s no proof that you can boost your immune system through nutrition or by any other means.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is the body’s defence system that protects us against diseases. The body produces immune cells to handle this function better.
Since we can’t switch on this defence mechanism at will, there are ways we can help our body to work efficiently in protecting us against harmful pathogens.
We can do this by creating a favourable environment for our bodies to thrive at all times. The notion that you can increase your immunity by overdosing on Vitamin C, which most people are doing now, has no basis in science.
Taking care of your body must be an ongoing activity. There are several ways you can keep your body in a peak state and thus keep your immune system at it best.
Choose a healthy lifestyle.
Your first line of defence in your keeping your immune system healthy is to choose a healthy lifestyle.
When you stick to good health guidelines, you’ll ensure that your body is functioning well and is protected from all manner of germs.
To choose a healthy lifestyle:
- Stop smoking and drinking, or do so in moderation.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in a variety of fruits and green vegetables.
- Increase your levels of physical activity or exercise regularly.
- Get enough sleep.
- Reduce stress or find better ways of handling it.
Keep your diet clean
Your body needs good, regular nourishment to perform at its best.
You must ensure you are getting the required macro and micronutrients for better health and vitality.
Supplementing daily with vitamins and minerals may keep your immune system in good shape. You can also get many other benefits from supplements.
But, taking huge doses of a single vitamin does not have any added benefits and may even be toxic. More is not better.
Engage in regular moderate exercise
One of the most important pillars of healthy living is exercising. It improves your heart health, controls your weight, and protects you against many infections.
Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and a healthier immune system.
It can also promote good circulation, which allows the immune system to do its job well.
Examples of moderate exercise you can do include brisk walking, bicycling, jogging, and swimming. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Make sure a day does not go by without raising and sustaining your heart rate for several minutes. Break your exercise sessions into mini 10 to 15 minutes sessions to make them doable.
Get enough sleep
Getting adequate sleep may strengthen your natural immunity.
Have you ever noticed that you tend to sleep more when sick?
This is usually to allow your immune system to better fight the illness by giving your body enough rest and an opportunity to heal and recover.
Aim for seven or more hours of deep uninterrupted sleep each night. You’ll feel fresher and energized throughout your day.
Eat more whole plant foods
Whole plant foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help you fight harmful pathogens.
Inflammation occurs when there is a buildup of free radicals in the body. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help fight against inflammation by flushing out these free radicals from your body.
Also, the fibre in plant foods feeds the good bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut can improve your immunity and help keep harmful pathogens from entering your digestive tract.
Drink more water
Water is important for your health but it does not boost your immunity.
Dehydration can cause headaches and as a result affect your focus, digestion, heart and kidney function. When this happens, your chances of becoming ill increases.
To stay hydrated, drink enough fluids daily until your urine turns pale yellow. Fill a bottle in the morning and take regular sips from it throughout your day.
You may need more fluids if your workouts are intense, you work outside, or live in a hot place.
Manage your stress levels
Finding ways to lower the levels of stress and anxiety is vital for proper immune function. When you are always battling stress from work, home and life in general, your body will build up inflammation.
You can manage stress through meditation, exercise, journaling, and yoga. It is also important to seek the services of a counsellor or therapist to help you deal with stress if nothing seems to work.
Eating nutritious foods is essential for good health. Yet, this is usually never the case for most people and that is why supplements come in handy to fill the gaps.
However, it good to remember that supplements cannot take the place of foods that are crucial to a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, most supplements on the market are not regulated and it’s not easy to know whether they’ll work for you or not.
So, before taking any supplements, do some research and answer these simple questions:
- Are they safe?
- What is the proper dose?
- What are the potential benefits or side effects?
- How long should you take them?
Only take supplements after an examination by a doctor to check if you have any deficiencies.
I know most of us don’t do that. We buy a supplement and test on ourselves. If you follow this route, stick to one supplement at a time.
This way, you’ll be able to tell if it is working or if it’s a waste of money.
Always stick to the recommended dosages. Taking more than the recommended dose is a waste because your body is intelligent enough to flush out whatever it doesn’t need.
Are you taking any supplements to ‘boost’ your immune system? What are they and how have they worked for you?