Boosting your immune system

The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony.

Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response. General healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.

Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system

Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as not smoking, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and getting adequate sleep. Washing hands frequently is a good way to stay away from germs.

Increase immunity the healthy way

Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections. This is what we can do.

  • Keep your stress levels down.It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, of course: The more you stress about the virus, the more likely you are to suffer from it. Stress can certainly hurt your immune system. Do not panic, try to minimize stress as stress hormone cortisol turns off cells in your immune system. Engage in activities that people find relaxing, such as meditation.
  • Low- and moderate-intensity exercise naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune-system function. Doctors recommends 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. If you’re apprehensive about germs in the gym, walk or run outside.
  • Get adequate sleep.For adults, that means getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Children should get more, depending on their age.
  • Eat plenty of plain yogurt every day.It’s really an easy way to boost your probiotics and help support your microbiome. It helps to support the good bacteria that live in your body, which help to fight bad bacteria or viruses.
  • Other foods that can help support the microbiome include garlic, onion, ginger and fermented foods.