In today's environment, fighting viruses is of urgency. Some practical, common sense precautions like consistent and thorough hand washing and avoiding contact with those that are sick is key.
In addition to those actions, having a healthy and strong immune system is crucial. Your immune system fights off infection and disease. It protects the body from outside invasion by locating and destroying potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites or unhealthy cells.
While there are many supplements that boasts of their ability to boost the immune system, nothing is more effective as a natural approach. Here are four smart steps to implement into your regimen that can play a great part in acquiring a healthy immune system.
1) Eat a healthy diet with an abundance of fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are rich with vitamins and nutrients that help to fight sickness. Citrus fruit in particular is packed with Vitamin C which is vital in strengthening the immune system and protecting the body against the common cold and influenza. For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 70-90 mg daily. Orange juice benefits your immune system by boosting your intake of Vitamin C. One cup of orange juice contains 124 mg of Vitamin C which exceeds the daily recommendation making it an easy and healthy option. Adding garlic to your diet will also go a long way in boosting your immune system. It has been shown to ward off the common cold, kill cancer cells, works as an anti-inflammatory and additionally, improves heart health.
2) Get plenty of sleep. Sleep serves as a reboot to your system. When the body is tired and suffering from lack of sleep, it releases stress hormones which can suppress your immune system. A 2015 study from the Associated Professional Sleep Societies revealed that those who got less that four hours of sleep prior to viral exposure, were more susceptible to catching a cold than those who got at least seven hours of sleep.
3) Workout regularly. Making physical exercise a part of your daily regimen is beneficial to your immune system because it causes your body's antibodies and white blood cells to circulate faster. This means they may be able to detect bugs more quickly. Physical activity may help flush harmful bacteria out of the lungs and airways. Additionally, exercise reduces stress hormones which, consequently, reduces your chances of getting sick.
4) Lower your stress levels. While this may seem easier said than done, making a serious effort to reduce stress can be a game-changer for your immune system and your overall health. Chronic stress or anxiety causes your body to produce stress hormones that suppresses your immune system. This leaves you much more open for catching a cold or for contracting other illnesses. Even though it is impossible to completely rid our lives of all stress, it is important to pay attention and make note of the things that bring on stress and anxiety and work to manage, decrease or if possible, eliminate the ones that we can. Prayer, meditation, rest and exercise are amazing stress relievers. Incorporating these habits into your lifestyle can have a profound effect on your stress level and thereby bettering your immune system.
Sources:Associated Professional Sleep Societies, AARP