No one likes getting sick. Whether it’s the common cold or something more serious like the flu, getting sick knocks us off our feet and sets us back in all that we need to do. Getting sick is your body’s way of telling you “I need a break” and “I’m not getting the care I need”. So, what can you do to boost your immune system and build up immunity to start fending off illness?
Here are simple steps you can start taking right now to boost your immune system and build up immunity:
- Start taking probiotics.
We normally think of bacteria as a bad thing. But did you know there are both good and bad bacteria, just like there are both good and bad fats, and good and bad carbs? Probiotics are simply the good bacteria that we introduce into our bodies for their beneficial properties. They work especially well on the digestive system and in reducing the incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. Probiotics can be found as a supplement and in certain foods such as yogurt.
- Limit alcohol and tobacco use.
Using tobacco or drinking alcohol are bad habits that can actually limit the effectiveness of our immune system. Tobacco smoke impairs the basic defenses of our immune systems and increases our risks of bronchitis, pneumonia, and cancer, to name a few things. Alcohol consumption can also impair the immune system and increases our vulnerability to lung infections.
- Limit your amount of sugar intake.
While it is true that sugar is delicious and can be extremely difficult to stay away from, it is also horrible for your health and immune system! Your immune system uses Vitamin C to boost immunity and fight against harmful bacteria entering the body. When you ingest sugar, it is broken down into glucose, which is oddly similar in structure to Vitamin C. The problem arises because your body often will attempt to grab Vitamin C to fight off bacteria and will instead grab the glucose. When this happens, instead of being able to fight off the bacteria or virus, your immune system’s ability to function properly is decreased – and the virus spreads.
- Feed your body plenty of healthy “super” foods.
Now that you know what you should not eat and need to avoid, what can you eat that will actually help boost your immune system? There are many “super” foods that actually work well to improve our health and boost our immune system. These super foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, garlic, mushrooms, yogurt, whole grains, and chicken soup.
- Have a check-up done on your nervous system.
This might sound like a strange one, but your nervous system, which is made up by your brain and spine, controls every single cell, tissue, organ, and organ system within your body. If something is off in your nervous system you may still have a lot of difficulty building your immune system as your nervous system will not give your body the proper signals on how to respond. It is extremely important to make sure your spine is properly aligned to ensure your body is able to send and receive signals and responses the way it is supposed to.
- Get plenty of sleep and don’t let stress get to you.
Getting a sufficient amount of sleep each night is essential to our body’s immune system health as sleep deprivation suppresses our immune system function. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can also increase the amount of time it takes your body to recover if you do get sick. Sleep deprivation can lead to issues such as increased chance of catching the cold or flu, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The optimum amount of sleep is 7 to 8 hours for most adults but could be as high as 10 hours for school-aged children.
Similarly, the more stressed out you are, the worse your immune system becomes. When our body is under stress it releases cortisol, which is a hormone that increases blood pressure and blood sugar, both of which lead to a weakened immune system. It is important to practice anti-stress techniques such as yoga, meditation, and exercise to minimize the amount of stress in our lives.
Now that you know what you can do to boost your immune system and build up your body’s immunity start taking action on these 6 simple steps today, so you can have your healthiest and best year yet!