The human body is protected by millions of biological structures circulating in the bloodstream. These consist of different types of organisms, each group of organisms having a specific function. When a foreign body (diseases/viruses) enters your body, a new organism is formed to fight the foreign body.
What Affects The Immune System?
The choices you make when it comes to your health, determine how well your immune system will either perform or not. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, and great mental health can stimulate and strengthen the body’s immune system; while illnesses, drugs, and excessive stress can gravely weaken the immune system.
How You Can Improve Your Immune System.
By making these small adjustments to your diet and lifestyle choices, your immune system will definitely improve:
1. Increase Your Vitamin Intake
- Vitamin C: This vitamin is a good aid when it comes to helping the immune system to flourish. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid, builds the immune system by increasing the body’s resistance to infection.
This is because it acts as an antioxidant, a nutrient that chemically binds and neutralizes the tissue-damaging effects of free radicals.
You can get the full benefits of vitamin C by consuming foods rich with it. These foods are mostly fruits and vegetables, mainly in tomatoes, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, green peppers, cabbage, and potatoes.
Take note that the vitamin is easily destroyed by cooking or canning foods and by exposure to air and light. So if you can’t eat these foods in their raw form, opt for steaming rather than cooking.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin aids in the development and maintenance of the skin, mucous membranes, teeth, vision, and reproduction.
Vitamin A aids in a productive immune system because it is rich in antioxidants.
Your body obtains vitamin A in two ways; by manufacturing it from carotene, a vitamin that’s found in vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale. And the other is by absorbing ready-made vitamin A from plant-eating organisms.
Vitamin A is also be found in animal form, e.g milk, butter, cheese, egg yolk, liver, and fish-liver oil.
Vitamin A should be consumed in sufficient amounts because too much of it can interfere with your growth, stop menstruation, damage red blood corpuscles, cause skin rashes, headaches, nausea, and even jaundice.
Other vitamins such as E, B6, D, and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium also aid in building up the immune system.
2. Getting Enough Sleep
When we get enough sleep, we allow our body to renew and rejuvenate itself. This happens because this is the time waste products are removed, your enzymes are replenished and energy is restored.
Getting sufficient sleep also strengthens your body’s immune system which combats infections and aids in healing, and not getting enough sleep can lead to stress. This leads to interference with your immune system, making it less effective at fighting viral or bacterial infections.
There are numerous ways you can improve your sleep without resorting to sedatives. You can sleep better by:
- Engaging in 30 to 60 minutes of active exercise. Exercise relaxes, restores energy, and combats nervous tension.
- Maintain a regular schedule as much as possible for going to bed, getting up, eating, and exercising. The body flourishes on regular rhythms.
- Eat your evening meal at least four hours before bedtime.
- Try to have a warm bath before you sleep.
- Avoid the use technologies such as your phones and laptops before bedtime.
You’ll never miss reading and hearing about how protein is very important when it comes to weight loss, illnesses, etc. because protein is always recommended.
Protein is full of amino acids, enzymes, and antibodies that help fight against viruses and bacteria. Lack of getting enough protein can be detrimental to one’s immune system and overall health.
The high amounts of zinc that are found in protein, aid in the production of white blood cells which fight infection. Great sources of protein are found in meat, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains, vegetables, and fruits.
4. Quit Smoking
Yes! It is true that smoking is dangerous.
There are multiple reasons why you should quit smoking because of the harm it does to our bodies, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to you that it can harm your immune system.
Smoking destroys the antibodies that are present in your bloodstream. This increases the risk of developing infections such as pneumonia and influenza.
Apart from causing infections, smoking lowers the levels of protective antioxidants such as vitamin C in the blood and causes illnesses to last longer than they should be.
You now have the weapons to building a strong immune system, but to prevent infections caused by viruses and bacteria to occur in the first place, hygiene is the number one weapon that can prevent them and keep your immune system from overworking itself.
Practice great hygiene by washing your hands regularly, with an antiseptic sanitizer. This will kill germs that are looming around.
As for your food, soak your vegetables or fruits with warm water for 10 minutes. This will help tremendously.
Pratt, E. (2019, February 21). Sleep and immune system. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-sleep-bolsters-your-immune-system