By Tracy Plunkett — Are you tired of catching every cold that passes around your workplace? Or are you continuously forced to cancel plans because you get sick at the last moment? Well, in case you were wondering, your constant illness isn’t a sign of bad luck – it simply means that you have a poor immune system.
Now, the good news is that there are a lot of ways you can boost your immune system without ever having to visit a doctor. Instead, you simply have to make a few natural lifestyle changes so that your body is better equipped to fight off a wide variety of germs and diseases. Here is what you have to do:
Get More Sleep
Did you know the CDC estimates that one-third of adults aren’t getting enough sleep? Now, if you were to take a closer look at people’s lives – including your own – this number may not be too surprising. Between work, family, and TV binge-watching sessions, sleep has been demoted in terms of important daily activities.
However, not getting enough of shut-eye may be the reason that you are falling ill quite so often. Although it isn’t fully understood, there is a link between sleep and your immune system. This is because your body’s defenses depend on proper homeostasis in order for all of the cells to work properly – this includes the cytokines and other cells involved in immunity.
However, when you lose out on sleep, your body isn’t able to regulate homeostasis and other functions as well. This leaves the cells of your immune system unable to launch appropriate attacks against bacterial or viral infections that enter your body. As a result, you will fall sick.
The best cure for this problem is to get seven to eight hours a day – every day. This will keep your immune system in fighting shape and able to protect your body properly.
Eat the Right Foods
The other thing that you need to do is to start including foods that will boost your immune system. However, it is important to add these items to your diet regularly so that you can benefit from them on a long-term basis. So, what are these foods?
Now, whenever you get a cold, one of your first instincts may be to stock up on vitamin C. Unfortunately, this may be a little too late. See, vitamin C is only truly effective against disease-causing agents when it is taken beforehand – it doesn’t work too well as a remedy. To help arm yourself against sniffles, start eating citrus fruits, bell peppers, and spinach.
Another great way to improve your immune system is to eat a handful full of almonds every day. Although small in size, they contain a considerable amount of vitamin E, which is known to improve the vitality of your immune system.
Speaking of small ingredients packing a big punch, you should certainly start including garlic in most of your meals. Not only does it help to ward off infectious, garlic has even been known to play a role in preventing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
If you tend to suffer from digestive issues, then you should start eating probiotic-enriched foods such as yogurt. Probiotics help to increase the population of good bacteria living in your digestive system. This, in turn, helps you to fight off the illnesses that are caused by the bad bacteria.
Handle Your Stress Better
As you probably already know, there is nothing fun about being stressed. Chest pain, headaches, and loss of sleep are all common physical responses to various tensions or traumas. What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that one way or another, stress can also compromise your immune system.
Now, in a perfect world, there would be a natural cure for stress. The sad news is that stress is something that you most likely face on a daily basis. Whether it is at your workplace or having to deal with domestic problems, it is inevitable that you will feel anxious or frustrated.
Although you can’t cut out stress completely, you can still find ways to deal with it. You should keep in mind, though, that you will need to find your own coping mechanism. For instance, some people find a lot of relief meditating or doing yoga. Others find that dissipating their nervous energy by playing with fidget spinners can help calm them at a given moment.
This is why it is important to pinpoint what helps you relax and to make use of those techniques. By doing this, you can interrupt the reaction to the stress, thus preventing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. In the long run, this means that you are able to reduce the influence of stress on your immune system.
Since it has been established that stress can lower the immune system, it stands to reason that being happy can actually help your body’s defenses. So, while laughter may not be able to cure all of your ailments, being more content in your daily life could actually prevent you from falling sick.
For instance, when you are in a better mood, your body is more likely to release a substance known as immunoglobulin. This is what helps your body to ward off infections. Therefore, being more cheerful can aid in fighting off illnesses.
This isn’t all that a positive mood can do for you, however. Even if you were to get sick, leading a happy life can actually help you get better faster. As you can see, there are many reasons for you to try to do something pleasant at least once a day.
The good news is that you don’t have to do anything too complicated. Simply watching funny videos or reading humorous stories could be enough to make you healthier overall.
Exercise Regularly but Moderately
For the longest time, scientists have been trying to discover the link between exercise and the immune system. On the one hand, there is no denying that exercise is a vital part of leading a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, there is some evidence to suggest that it can also lead to a compromised immune system.
Well, the good news is that there may be some clearer conclusions after looking at all the research. See, the key to maintaining a properly functioning immune system is to exercise on a regular basis but to do so moderately.
You should avoid overly strenuous activities as they can prove to be too taxing for your body and actually lower your immunity. So, try to exercise for about 30 minutes to an hour each day and avoid pushing yourself too far.
Improve Your Social Ties
Humans are social beings – this is how we have survived throughout history. There is also a lot of evidence to show that your friends can be good for your health, as well. For one thing, spending time with your friends helps to lower your stress levels. It can also help you make healthier choices such as eating better or exercising more.
Last but not least, friends are often quick to take care of you, ensuring that you keep your health in check. Now, all of these things contribute to a more fortified immune system. So, by keeping in touch with your friends, you are actually doing wonders for your body’s defenses.
Cut Out the Bad Habits
If you are a smoker, yet another reason to quit is that it lowers your immunity. This is why it is not uncommon to find that smokers get sick more often. In particular, it can raise your risk of getting pneumonia and bronchitis.
When it comes to alcohol, you don’t have to cut it out completely. You do, however, need to be more careful about how much you consume. Now, a drink every now and then will not affect your health. In fact, if you indulge in a glass of wine infrequently, it can actually boost your health.
By drinking too much, though, you are actually impairing your immune system. Also, as with smoking cigarettes, you are putting yourself at risk of developing lung-related medical conditions. So, try to stick to about two to three drinks a week, just so you can keep your immune system functioning well.
On a similar note, you should reduce the amount of junk food you eat as well. While wholesome and nutritious food can boost your immune system, junk food does the opposite. These food products contain high amounts of preservatives, additives, and other ingredients that can work against your immune system. So, if you do want to indulge, make sure that you do so infrequently.
This article points out a number of different, natural ways to help keep your immune system in working order. To experience the best results, try to include all these helpful tips in your life. You are sure to start noticing that you are in better health and don’t get sick as often.
Tracy Plunkett is a writer and blogger who focuses on health, nutrition, and nature. She is constantly on the lookout to find natural solutions and remedies and loves sharing her knowledge with her audience. Tracy strives to lead a lifestyle that is as holistic and fulfilled as possible.