Boosting your immune system is easier said than done. While it may take some time – remember, Rome wasn’t built overnight – taking the steps necessary to bolster your immune system will go a long way in maintaining your overall health. Our team here at Cool Springs Family Chiropractic has compiled a list of things you can do to improve your immunity.
1. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE
Sleeping is one of the most important things we do on a daily basis. It helps our body and brain rest, it helps the body recover from fatigue, and it keeps your heart healthy. Healthy sleeping patterns also helps our body build up its immunity.
Most experts recommend that adults get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Studies have shown that individuals who sleep fewer than six hours each night are at a much higher risk of illness than those who sleep six hours or more. If you’re having trouble falling to sleep every night, try sleeping in a completely dark room or with a mask on.
2. EAT MORE ORGANIC FOODS
Whole plant foods help our bodies build up the immunity they need to fight off illnesses. Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that give your body the upper hand it needs. That’s because the antioxidants in these foods help decrease inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is linked to health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers. Certain fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold. The more vitamin C you eat the better!
3. EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats help boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation. These fats can be found in food like olive oil and salmon. Chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, so taking the steps necessary to reduce inflammation is key to your overall wellbeing.
Olive oil, for example, is linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Olive oil also has anti-inflammatory properties which may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
4. FERMENTED FOODS OR PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS
You should try to implement fermented foods into your diet as much as possible. These foods are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which populate your digestive tract. Fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto.
Studies have found that those who consume fermented foods or take probiotic supplements have stronger immune responses to viruses. If you don’t regularly eat fermented foods, probiotic supplements are a great alternative. Both of these options greatly increase your gut health which is deeply interconnected with your immunity.
5. LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR YOU EAT
Sugar and carbs are one of the biggest contributors to obesity. Obesity greatly increases your risk of getting sick while also amplifying the symptoms. Studies have found that people with obesity who were administered the flu vaccine were twice as likely to still get the flu than those without obesity.
Limiting the amount of added sugar you put into your body can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss. Your sugar intake should be less than 5% of your daily calories. This equates to about two tablespoons of sugar for the average 2,000-calorie diet.
It feels as though it doesn’t need to be stated how effective exercise is when it comes to improving your overall wellbeing. However, prolonged intense exercises can suppress your immune system. Moderate exercises give your immune system the boost that it needs.
Moderate exercising can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells. These exercises include jogging, biking, walking, swimming, and hiking. Try to get it 150-minutes worth of moderate exercising per week.
7. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
While drinking water doesn’t grant you immunity, it does prevent dehydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, hindering your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart function. All of these complications amplify your risk of illness.
Water is the recommended form of hydration as it’s free of calories, additives, and sugar. Other forms of hydration such as tea and juice also work, but be careful of their high sugar content. Keep in mind that the older you get the harder it is to keep track of your thirst. Older adults need to drink regularly even if they do not feel thirsty.
8. MANAGE YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Long-term stress promotes inflammation, which as mentioned earlier, goes a long way in distorting your immune system’s ability to fight off illness. This is even more apparent in children. Relieving stress and anxiety is crucial to maintaining your body’s being.
You can lower your stress levels in a myriad of different ways. You can meditate, keep a journal, practice yoga, receive chiropractic care, or seek a therapist. The best way to relieve stress is always dependent on personal preference.
9. AVOID UNHEALTHY HABITS
Some of the main reasons our immune systems struggle have to do with the way we take care of our bodies. Our body is a delicate machine that requires constant care and attention. Poor habits can almost make our bodies turn against us.
Habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, binge eating, and drug use all hamper our body’s ability to fight off unwanted diseases. We get that quitting these habits is not easy, but doing so could save your life. Try replacing unhealthy habits with healthier ones such as exercising and meditating.