Boost Your Immune System in 5 Simple Steps
The immune system is key to healthy living and to boost your immune system, you don’t need magic tricks! Undoubtedly, our antibodies are one of the best gifts of mother earth, and they work like a miracle. We only talk about our immune system when we get sick, but that’s not entirely fair.
Our immune system works 24 / 7 / 365 in the background and prevents lots of nasty stuff without us even noticing. Of course, that happens when the immune system can respond correctly to threads.
When it overreacts, there comes the allergies, when it underreacts illnesses arise. In other words, if your immune system works as it should, you will get bacteria and viruses, but you won’t get infected.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is our body’s natural defensive mechanism that can detect danger or pathogen-associated molecular patterns and act accordingly. Cells may be unhealthy due to a bacterial or viral infection or non-infectious agents like a sunburn or cancer.
The immune system should address these threads when needed. If it can’t respond, infection is inevitable. If the immune system gives a false alarm or can’t stop responding after a threat has passed, that might cause allergies or auto-immune disease.
Elements of Immune System
All immune cells are made in the bone marrow, and the stem cells here can turn into different cell types. They can get their finishing touches in different parts of our body.
The skin cells, as the first layer of our bodies, play an essential role in blocking pathogens in the first place.
The bloodstream contains immune cells in the form of white blood cells, which are continually looking for bad guys.
T cells are adaptive immune cells that are matured in the thymus gland, which is located behind the breastbone.
When it comes to the Lymphatic system, it’s a group of vessels, tissues, and lymph nodes that mainly carry immune cells.
In the far upper left of the abdomen, a small organ called spleen is located. The spleen filters out the blood and plays a supportive role in the immune system.
Lastly, mucosal tissues, which are located in the entry points of the pathogens, contain components of both the innate and acquired immune system.
How to Boost Your Immune System
Now that we have a basic understanding of what our immune system looks like let’s go through a couple of points on how to boost it naturally.
If you want to boost or protect your immune system, you should pay special attention to your lifestyle and nutrition.
Here are five tricks to boost your immune system:
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- See the Sun More Often
- Move Your Body
- Feed Yourself Properly
- Relax and Take it Easy
1- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Your body increases cytokines when you are infected or stressed. This is a natural defense mechanism of our bodies. And guess what? These cytokines are released when you are sleeping. Some cytokines also help you sleep better. This is how the immune system and your sleep patterns are related.
If you can’t get a good night’s sleep, you are merely lowering your immune system and increase your chances of getting sick. Therefore, do whatever you can to sleep well. That includes avoiding specific nutrition and stress etc. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night and avoid sleeping for more than 10 hours as that can cause issues as well.
2- See the Sun More Often
You probably already know that we need sunlight to make vitamin D, which is essential for our immune system. Apart from that, Georgetown University Medical Center researchers have found that sunlight energizes T cells that play a central role in human immunity, separate from vitamin D production.
Gerard Ahern, Ph.D., associate professor in the Georgetown’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology added:
“We found that sunlight makes hydrogen peroxide in T cells, which makes the cells move. And we know that an immune response also uses hydrogen peroxide to make T cells move to the damage,” Ahern says. “This all fits together.”
Now that we know all these, we should always get lovely sunlight daily without overdoing it.
3- Move Your Body
If you exercise daily in moderation, you could get an amazing immune system boosting benefits.
Here is a small summary from an extensive research paper:
Acute exercise (moderate-to-vigorous intensity, less than 60 min) is now viewed as an important immune system adjuvant to stimulate the ongoing exchange of distinct and highly active immune cell subtypes between the circulation and tissues.
In particular, each exercise bout improves the antipathogen activity of tissue macrophages in parallel with an enhanced recirculation of immunoglobulins, anti-inflammatory cytokines, neutrophils, NK cells, cytotoxic T cells, and immature B cells.
With near-daily exercise, these acute changes operate through a summation effect to enhance immune defense activity and metabolic health.
In contrast, high exercise training workloads, competition events, and the associated physiological, metabolic, and psychological stress are linked with transient immune perturbations, inflammation, oxidative stress, muscle damage, and increased illness risk.
Metabolomics, proteomics, and lipidomics have revealed that metabolism and immunity are inextricably interwoven, providing new insights on how intense and prolonged exercise can cause transient immune dysfunction by decreasing immune cell metabolic capacity.
4- Feed Yourself Properly
When it comes to nutrition, firstly, you should eat a well-balanced diet so that you can assure that your immune system works as it should.
So you should avoid Protein-energy malnutrition by eating enough of that protein and carbs. The deficiency of single nutrients also results in altered immune responses: Zinc; selenium; iron; copper; vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; and folic acid have essential influences on immune responses.
Secondly, you can start benefiting from so-called superfoods to bring some extra players in your body’s defense team. Certain herbs are researched and considered to be immune helping such as; Echinacea, Elderberry, Astragalus Root, Ginseng, Bone Broth, Ginger Root & Essential Oil, Green Tea, Probiotics, Oregano, Myrrh, and Frankincense Essential Oils.
Along with your good eating habits, you should avoid certain foods such as sugar, alcohol, and deep-fried foods.
5- Relax & Take it Easy
Acute stress is almost like a polish on our immune systems, but chronic stress is something we must avoid.
Long terms stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes. These are the white blood cells that help fight off infections. In other words, chronic stress can suppress your immune system or immune response.
Thankfully, there are a bunch of useful techniques to overcome stress, such as meditation, prayer, aromatherapy, or exercising. All of these are low-cost activities, and you only need to invest a 30mins of time relaxing.
Dr.Axe – How to Boost Your Immune System — Top 19 Boosters
NIH – Overview of the Immune System
Healthline – 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System
Health.com – 16 Immunity-Boosting Foods a Nutritionist Recommends
Harvard Medical School – How to boost your immune system
Web MD – Keep Your Immune System Healthy
Mayo Clinic – Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
Georgetown University Medical Center – Sunlight Offers Surprise Benefit – It Energizes Infection Fighting T Cells
Journal of Sport and Health Science – The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system