An important and remarkable machine designed to keep you healthy and free from diseases is your immune system. The immune system serves as your body’s first line of defense, responsible for fighting unwanted bacteria and viruses through a body-wide, organized system of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.
Research studies have shown that proper immune function is influenced by factors such as age, diet and physical activity. To function well, the immune system requires balance and harmony.
Here are four healthy living strategies you can use to maintain a strong and healthy immune system :
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. Just as exercise can influence other physiologic systems and organs such as our heart, lungs, circulation and endocrine systems, the immune system is similarly influenced. But, as the saying goes “too much of something is bad,” it is important to moderate the rate of your exercise.
Studies indicate that just one session of moderate-intensity exercise boosts the effectiveness of vaccines in people with compromised immune systems. Striving for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week is ideal training for the immune response.
Excellent nutrition is the backbone of maintaining good health. It can protect and even enhance the immune response. Studies have shown that poor nutrition results in increased infections, slow healing from injury and infections, and increases susceptibility to symptoms and complications from immune system dysfunction.
Getting an adequate amount of vitamins and nutrients have a significant impact on strengthening immunity.
- Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies and boosts immunity. It can be found in fruits, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections. It can be gotten from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, asparagus, and it can also be found in meat, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy products.
- Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.
Get Adequate Sleep
Prioritizing sleep is one of the most important things you can do in order to stay healthy. Lack of sleep can negatively affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus and take longer to recover.
Studies show that sleep creates a unique constellation of immune system and hormones. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.
Persistent and poorly managed stress can overwork your immune system and drain your ability to stay healthy. It can result in abnormally high levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol normally regulates both the inflammatory and immune response in the body, but under chronic stress levels, tissue sensitivity to cortisol decreases, and immune response declines.
Activities that may help you manage your stress include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, music relaxation, and other mindfulness practices.
Your immune system is your first line of defense, it is responsible for fighting foreign invaders in the body, like pathogenic bacteria and viruses. For proper functioning, it is important that you consider keeping up with the lifestyle habits above.