If you’re looking to improve your immune health, you may be wondering how you can help your body fight disease. While boosting your immune system is easier said than done, various diet and lifestyle changes can boost your body’s natural defenses and help you fight off harmful diseases. pathogens or pathogens.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep and immunity are closely related. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep is associated with increased susceptibility to disease.
In a study of 164 healthy adults, those who slept less than 6 hours each night were more likely to get a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night. Getting enough rest can boost your natural immunity. Also, you may sleep more when you’re sick so your immune system can better fight off disease. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8-10 hours and toddlers and toddlers up to 14 hours. If you have trouble sleeping, try to limit your screen time to an hour before bed, since the blue light emitted by your phone, TV, and computer interferes with your circadian rhythm, or your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle can disturb you.
Eat More Whole Foods
Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can give you an edge against harmful pathogens. The antioxidants in these foods help to reduce inflammation-fighting unstable compounds called free radicals, which can cause inflammation when they build up at high levels in your body. Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, can boost your body’s immune response to pathogens and reduces inflammation. Although mild inflammation is a normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system. Olive oil, being a powerful anti-inflammatory, is linked to a lower risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes Properties help your body fight off harmful bacteria and viruses that cause disease
Include Fermented Food
Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics that populate your digestive tract. These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto. Research suggests that a thriving network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells tell the difference between healthy cells and harmful invading organisms. In a 3-month study of 126 children, those who drank as little as 70 mL of fermented milk per day had about 20 childhood infectious diseases, compared to a control group.
If you don’t regularly eat fermented foods, probiotic supplements are another option.
Limit added sugars Recent research suggests that added sugars and refined carbohydrates may contribute disproportionately to overweight and obesity. Obesity can also increase the risk of the disease. According to an observational study of about 1,000 people, vaccinated obese people had twice the risk of influenza than non-obese people who received the vaccine. Reducing your sugar intake can reduce inflammation and help you lose weight, reducing your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Although prolonged, intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can strengthen it. Studies show that even a single session of moderate exercise can increase the effectiveness of vaccines in people with compromised immune systems. In addition, regular, moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and help immune cells regenerate regularly. Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, steady cycling, jogging, swimming, and light walks.
Most people should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
Staying hydrated doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but avoiding dehydration is important for your overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and affect your physical performance. Focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to the disease.
To prevent dehydration, drink enough fluids each day to turn your urine pale yellow. Water is recommended as it contains no calories, additives, or sugar. While tea and juice are also hydrating, it’s best to limit your intake of fruit. Juice and sweetened tea due to their high sugar content. In general, drink when you are thirsty and stop drinking when you are no longer thirsty. You may need more fluids if you exercise intensely, work outdoors, or live at home. a hot climate.
Control Your Stress Levels
Reducing stress and anxiety is key to immune system health. Long-term stress promotes inflammation and imbalances in immune cell function. Prolonged psychological stress in particular can suppress immune responses in children. Activities that can help you with Stress management include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, and other mindfulness practices. You may also benefit from seeing a licensed counselor or therapist, either virtually or in person.
However, some studies suggest that the following supplements may boost your body’s overall immune response:
Based on a review of more than 11,000 people, taking 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day reduced the duration of colds by 8%. in adults and 14% in children. However, the dietary supplement did not initially prevent the common cold
Vitamin D deficiency can increase your chance of getting sick, so supplementation can counteract this effect. However, taking vitamin D when you already have adequate levels does not appear to offer any additional benefits. Zinc. In a review of 575 people with the common cold, supplementation with more than 75 mg of zinc per day reduced the duration of the common cold by 33%.
A small review found that elderberry might relieve symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, but more research is needed. those who received a placebo or no treatment, but the difference was insignificant.
The Bottom Line
You can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system.
These include reducing your sugar intake, staying hydrated, working out regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing your stress levels.
Although none of these suggestions can prevent COVID-19, they may reinforce your body’s defenses against harmful pathogens.