10 Best Ways to Support the Immune System

What do you rely on to protect your health?

In this day and age we first think of things like mask, hand sanitizer and things that can kill viruses and bacteria on the things we handle but the real way to stay healthy is to build our own immune system. The human body is very able to protect itself from disease when it is maintained properly.

Here are 10 simple ways to boost your immune system naturally.

Eat a clean diet

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Other foods that are good for your immune system include fresh garlic, which may help fight viruses and bacteria, and old-fashioned chicken soup. You may think it is just and old wives tale but at least one study shows that if you do come down with a cold or the flu, a bowl of chicken soup can help you get well faster.

Get plenty of sleep

People tend to under estimate the importance that sleep plays in keeping your body healthy. Poor sleep can have both short-term and long-term effects.

Poor sleep can increase inflammation, blood pressure, insulin resistance, cortisol, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease, as well as decrease blood sugar regulation.

Short-term poor sleep or lack of sufficient sleep consequences may include poor judgement, moodiness, memory problems and generalized increased stress within the body.

Adults need to get a good 7-9 hours sleep per night.

Get out in the sun

Now this isn’t suggesting that you get out and bake in the sun but a few 15 to 20 minutes a day can play a significant part in keeping a sufficient vitamin D level.

Vitamin D is critical for immune function. A deficiency in this nutrient may compromise immune response and increase your risk of infection and disease.   Most people suffer from low levels and it is found in very few foods and through safe exposure to the sun. If you are having a serious lack of energy or get up and go, you might want to have your levels of vitamin D checked out.

Avoid Sweets

“Consuming too much sugar can affect the cells in your immune system that target bacteria. … Sugar affects the way your white blood cells attack bacteria.” explained board-certified internist and gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal. “Nutrient deficiencies can increase your risk level when warding off infection, and food items with high levels of refined sugar are usually nutritionally obsolete. Sugar triggers low-grade inflammation in the body and also increases the mass. This can contribute to diseases that are chronic in nature, things as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

So how much sugar is too much? Research shows that consuming 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution can hinder the body’s immune functions. While 75 grams may sound like a lot here is what is in some of the foods we consume without giving it a thought.

12 ounces of cola = 41 grams

3 Oreo Cookies = 14 grams

12 ounces of Mountain Dew = 46 grams

3 Eggo cinnamon toast waffles = 17 grams

This is just a start but as you can tell getting more than 75 grams of added sugar is not hard to do.

Reduce Stress & Anxiety

Did you know that stress can reduce the number of natural killer cells or lymphocytes in the body, which are needed to fight viruses, according to the American Psychological Association.  Chronic stress can produce higher-than-normal levels of the hormone cortisol. This can hamper the body’s anti-inflammatory response and cause continual infections, according to recent immunology research studies. If you are dealing with stress here are some ways to banish it and have better mental-health and boost your immune system.

* Make time for relationships – even if we can’t be together you               can talk on the phone, text/facetime, heck even send a card or a         note.

* Silence any negative self-talk – replace the negative by putting a         positive spin on the situation. Look in the mirror and tell yourself         all about your good qualities.

* Sing it out – yes I do mean sing! Even if you can’t carry a tune               singing somehow makes everything better.

* Take a walk – Research shows that a 90-minute walk outdoors             can reduce activity in the brain linked to repetitive negative                   thoughts. It is also a great way to sneak some physical                             activity into your day!

Get your body moving

Getting around a half hour of physical activity each day- even just walking around the office or getting up and doing some stretches or a short yoga exercise, has been shown to be a huge boost to the effectiveness of your immune system. Exercise has been shown to help the antibodies and white blood cells moving in the blood stream and get them spread throughout you body faster. This can help your body detect warning signs of invasions by pathogens sooner, making your body can begin defensive measures sooner, therefore reducing your chances of getting sick.  We aren’t talking anything strenuous just a moderate amount of increased movement everyday.

take a probiotic supplement

There are microbes (bacteria) that naturally occur and live in your gut help to improve digestion and food absorption but they also play a role in hormone levels and the body’s ability to fight off a number of illnesses. As much as 70 percent of your body’s naturally occurring immune system either starts, relies on, or is located in the gut. The gut has both good bacteria and bad bacteria. The goal is to have only, or at least mostly, good microbes present. Probiotics are “good” bacteria and are necessary to keeping your entire body balanced and healthy, which is why eating foods like yogurt, cheese, and other foods are good as they contain these probiotics naturally. Even with conscious consumption of foods with natural probiotics most people need a supplement to insure a consistently healthy gut.

So with these healthy immune system boosters in mind, you can help fight off illnesses and infections before they even attack. Not all nutritional supplements are created equal. Make sure you can find the science behind a product before you buy. The one I take and would recommend to anyone can be found here   http://www.gailfelling.com/jkz1

Practice Moderation

Excessive consumption of alcohol can weaken your immune system. Drinking alcohol can damage your immunity because alcohol prevents the nutrients in your diet from feeding your immune system. Once alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream, it reduces your white blood cell count, which makes it more difficult for your body to fight diseases.

quit smoking

Smoking is harmful to your overall health, which includes the weakening of your immune system. Smoking weakens your immune system by decreasing the effectiveness of the antibodies and cells in your body that are there to protect you from foreign invaders.

Laugh Everyday

You have heard it said that laughter can be the best medicine. Well it is true! Studies show that humor can strengthen your immune system. When you laugh, your diaphragm acts as a powerful pump for the circulation of lymph fluid. This helps your lymph nodes clean and filter your lymph fluid, which means it is reducing waste products, dead cells, and unwanted microorganisms.

Having clean bodily fluids is an important part of being at your physical best. Increased lymphatic flow through laughter leads to an improved immune system simply by increasing the flow of lymph moving through the nodes, which then produces more lymphocytes, antibodies, and other natural chemicals that boost your immunity.

All of this being said don’t forget to do what you can to prevent exposure to the bacteria and viruses that can make us sick. Wear your mask, wash your hands, get your vaccines and stay a safe distance from others. Only air hugs for now! But also do what you can to have a healthy immune system all the time.

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