The immune system requires constant upkeep, which is where most of us go wrong – we wait for a cold to hit before we begin our “immunity loading”. But we shouldn’t wait until we’re knee-deep in tissues and Codral boxes; health is fragile and you can’t boost your immune system overnight.
The earlier you set the foundations for a thriving immune system, the stronger it will be to withstand seasonal illness.
We already know that a healthy, diverse diet provides us with the essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep the immune system strong, but there’s more you can do to boost your immune system than stinking out the office with garlic toast.
1. Maintain a Healthy Gut
Doctors always emphasise the famous Hippocrates quote, “All disease begins in the gut”. But unfortunately, many people lack bacterial diversity in the gut, leading to a diminished gastrointestinal system.
This is a painful punch to the immune system, as 80% of it resides in the digestive tract. Gut flora influences white blood cells, playing a pivotal role in the strength and maintenance of the immune system.
Make sure you consume probiotics (the “good” gut bacteria) daily and supplement if necessary. Probiotics are naturally found in mushrooms and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, etc.
2. Minimise Stress
Chronic stress is the culprit behind numerous health conditions, and it’s no different when it comes to immune function. After all, stress has a negative impact on the gastrointestinal system, so minimising stress goes hand-in-hand with caring for your gut flora and boosting immune health.
In order to do its job and protect you from disease-causing microorganisms, the immune system requires balance and harmony. It’s not just about avoiding stressful situations (which are bound to happen) – take time to recuperate from them mindfully, enjoy life, spend time with people you love, and keep your dopamine levels high.
Additionally, studies have shown that physical human touch holds enormous stress-relieving powers, so grab a buddy and have a hug!
3. Boost Your Blood Circulation
Our sedentary lifestyles are hurting us in many ways, and one of them is poor blood circulation from sitting for long periods of time.
This directly impacts immune function because the lymphatic circulatory system carries immune cells throughout the body. When the blood flow slows, the immune cells cannot be delivered to all the areas they need to be in order for the entire system to function as intended.
Make sure you take frequent breaks for stretching while working and get your blood pumping with exercise. You can also support blood flow with a circulation supplement when you’re feeling especially sluggish or experience cold hands and feet while sitting at your desk (an indication of poor blood circulation).
Supplements for boosting blood flow can be beneficial when purchased from a reputable brand that guarantees high-quality products made with natural ingredients.
4. Protect Your Body From SubstancesThat Act as Stressors
Smoking, drugs and alcohol all act as stressors on the body, disrupting its functioning and leading to various ailments. They’re full of chemicals that trigger responses from the brain so the intricate system that your body presents is thrown into chaos – from disrupted hormones to blood flow, everything gets thrown off track.
Now, the immediate effects may be momentary, but there’s no denying that this puts pressure on your body and harms it in the long run as well. A drink or two won’t hurt, but always be wary of the pressures you’re putting on your body.
It’s important to think about your body’s internal functioning by practicing positive daily lifestyle habits. This includes reducing your intake of processed foods, which are full of chemicals that have an inflammatory effect, as well as the overuse of antibiotics, which heavily disrupt your healthy gut flora.
5. Stay Hydrated to Boost Your Immune System
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but it can’t be overemphasised. Drinking at least 8 glasses of clean water daily is crucial to overall health and immune function.
Water helps in the production of lymph, the fluid which carries immune system cells. With a steady blood flow and properly functioning lymphatic system, your body will be charged to defend you against the microorganisms that the flu season brings.
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How to Boost Your Immune System: Get Started Today
Eat well, protect your body, watch out for your blood flow and gut health, minimise stress and always stay hydrated – you’ll set the foundations to boost your immune system and be ready for anything that’s coming this winter.
Article by Caitlin Evans: Caitlin is a bookworm, photographer and dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter.