The immune system defends the body against various disease-causing microorganisms. However, it is not a perfect system, and certain lifestyle choices can cause our immune system to become weakened or compromised. Luckily, there are ways you can boost your immune system and we are here to tell you how.
Boosting the immune system is easier said than done as it consists of many parts of the body. Though through various lifestyle and dietary changes, it can be accomplished. Here are four lifestyle recommendations that will help strengthen your immune system and help keep it healthy and strong.
A Well-Balanced Diet
Much of your immune system relies on a healthy gut, so by keeping your gut healthy you can ensure your immune system’s strength. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods are rich in nutrients that will decrease inflammation and keep your digestive tract healthy. Pick colorful foods with plenty of antioxidants such as vibrant peppers, oranges, leafy greens, carrots, and strawberries.
Limit your intake of sugar and refined carbs as these can significantly contribute to the development of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes which suppresses your immune system. Read the labels of your food products to ensure you are eating real ingredients that contain less salt and sugar.
Consider upping your intake of probiotics; these are foods that contain healthy bacteria. Common probiotics include fermented foods such as yogurt and kimchi. If fermented foods don’t make your menu, you can also consider probiotic supplements as another option.
Moderate daily exercise is a great way to reduce inflammation and promote healthy cell turnover improving your immune system’s response. It is also a great method of stress relief and can lower your risk for heart disease.
Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise a day throughout the week. It doesn’t have to be intensive; the most important part is to move your body and stay active. Walking, swimming, biking, and hiking are all great options. Remember, the key to exercise is moderation. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep allows your body to rest and restore itself to prepare for the day ahead. Inadequate amounts of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to sickness.
Adults should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night, while teenagers need around 8-10 hours and younger children up to 14 hours.
For better sleep, we recommend sticking to a regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine and electronics at least an hour before bed. Adding dark curtains to block out light and lowering the temperature can also help you achieve a good night’s rest.
Although you can’t avoid stress in life, you can adopt healthy strategies and methods to manage your stress levels better. Stress, mental health, and your immune system are intricately linked as stress can overwhelm and weaken your body’s defenses.
Exercising, meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga are great practices that can help you reduce your stress levels. Lower stress levels will help keep your immune system well balanced and functioning properly. When you feel overwhelmed, it is best to take time to unwind.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to your immune system functioning properly. For more information on how to better your immune system, contact Innovative Care Medicine today.