The immune system is the body’s defense system against microorganisms that cause disease and illness. When you consider the amount of germs you are exposed to on a daily basis, it’s easy to see just how busy your immune system is. Occasionally, the immune system gets bogged down—it can’t keep up, and germs successfully invade the system, causing illness.
Vaccines are designed to help the immune system fight disease, and there are medications you can take once you are sick, but are there natural lifestyle changes you can make to help make your immune system stronger?
The verdict is still out on just how lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, age and stress impact the immune system, but in general, living a healthy lifestyle is a good strategy to boost your immune system.
Help keep your body strong and healthy with these tips:
• Eat a healthy diet, full of natural, whole foods including fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meat.
• Make regular exercise a priority.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Keep your blood pressure under control.
• Get plenty of sleep (even adults need 7-8 hours per night).
• Practice good hygiene and wash your hands regularly.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables before consuming them, and cook meat thoroughly.
• Don’t smoke.
• Moderate alcohol consumption.
• Keep up with regular physical exams and medical screening tests.
• Find ways to de-stress and make time for yourself to relax.
Nutrients to boost immunity
When it comes to how certain nutrients affect immunity, there is still plenty of research to be done, but there is evidence that consuming these nutrients can help keep your immune system strong.
• Garlic: In tests, garlic has shown to work against bacteria, viruses and fungi. One study looking at people in European countries found a connection between the frequency of garlic consumption and a reduced risk of some cancers.
• Ginseng: In Asian cultures, ginseng is believed to stimulate the immune system, though scientists are still determining just how ginseng affects the immune system.
• Probiotics: There are hundreds of different species of these “good bacteria” that can influence the immune system by balancing the bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can be found in dairy products, energy bars, cereals, drinks and several other food products.
Although medical science is still determining the most beneficial means of boosting the immune system, there is no doubt that living a healthy lifestyle and consuming the right nutrients will help fight sickness, keeping your body strong and energized.