What does strong immune system mean?
Your immune system is exactly that, a system. Its primary purpose is to protect against pesky, persistent bacteria, virus and toxins that want nothing more than to attack your body, breaking it down to make it more susceptible to injury and illness. It is the gatekeeper for what gets in and what stays out of your body. When it is working, the viruses and toxins don’t have a chance. When it’s not, the floodgates are wide open.
Living a healthy lifestyle is your single best option to a strong immune system. Every part of your body functions better when it is fueled with healthy foods, a positive environment, and minimal stress. Sounds ideal? Here are some easy tips for a stronger immune system that won’t overwhelm you.
- Daily exercise
Yes, daily. Just 30 minutes.
There are numerous benefits to exercise, including prevention of arthritis, diabetes, heart conditions, and more. We often think of exercise as a way to prevent chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, or as a way to keep weight in control. Exercise can promote good blood circulation, which allows your cells and substances of the immune system to move through your body freely to do their job efficiently.
Exercise also doubles as a mood and mental booster — two benefits in one.
2. Get enough sleep
It’s a simple thing, really: getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is a regenerative process for your body. When you are sleep deprived your natural immune cells, or T cells, go down, and inflammatory cytokines (inflammation cells) go up. That means good sleep results in strengthening your immunity.
Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.”
3. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best.
Many of us have heard that we should drink eight glasses of water per day. That can be hard to do. Instead, try drinking a glass of water when you wake up to start your day off right. Your body is dehydrated from sleeping, so this is a great way to remedy that immediately.
Another tip: If you like warm drinks in the winter, try non-caffeinated teas, which you can include in your daily water tally.
4. Promote gut health
Your gut knows when you’re happy… in fact, your gut knows nearly everything. Keep it in check!
Foods with good bacteria, like yogurt, have positive health benefits. Probiotics can help your digestive system function normal and stay balanced. After all, 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system, so it’s best to keep your stomach healthy and happy.
Research shows that probiotics are some of the best foods to boost immunity. Include regularly eating fermented and cultured foods that contain probiotics
5. Eat a well-balanced and colorful diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help keep you well. Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits daily to ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, like brown rice and quinoa, are also part of a healthy diet. Minimize processed foods, sugar and beverages that have no nutrients
6. Be mindful
Keep stress minimal; meditate or pray, and allow your brain some down time. Nothing good ever comes from worrying. Your body will be in a more relaxed state and feel rejuvenated with some peace and quiet. Stress can be an inhibitor of immunity for the way it creeps in and likes to settle, affecting appetite, sleep habits, even daily routines.
7. Let the light in
Enjoy moderate exposure to sunlight a few times each week. Vitamin D is imperative for strengthening your immune system. If you’re not able to get outside, consider a Vitamin D supplement as a substitute. Fresh air is good for everyone and a change of scenery is always a plus. Of course, with exposure to the sun, it’s also equally as important to wear SPF — and wear it daily.
Although it can be challenging to do all of these things on an ongoing basis, do as much as you can. Consistently taking good care of yourself is the best way to support your overall health and immunity.
Your health is one of the most valuable things you have. Today more than ever, people across the world are practicing gratitude for health while being vigilant about protecting it. Pandemics and viruses aside, there are ways to give your health the right priority it needs no matter what age you are.
Strong immunity, while crucial to preventing and fighting illness, is also a key component to living a balanced, happy life. How? The habits and practices you can do to support your immunity all lend themselves to a happy, holistic existence. It’s the best of both worlds; being strong and healthy to combat disease and illness and enjoying your body for the life it’s given you.