Your immune system does a marvellous job at protecting your body from germs and viruses. However, it sometimes fails, causing you to get ill. You and your immune system need to work together to make it stronger, so it can ward off harmful bacteria and viruses more effectively. Below are some tips on how to maintain a strong immune system.
12 ways to maintain a strong immune system
1. Take care of your mental health
It all begins in the mind. According to experts, your mental and physical health go hand in hand. Studies show that people with good mental health are more likely to take good care of their own body by eating right, practising good hygiene, getting enough sleep, etc.
2. Get enough sleep
Your body takes advantage of sleep to "repair" and "reboot" itself. That's why it's important to get enough sleep every night. An average adult needs around 8 hours of sleep. Studies show that sleeping less than 8 hours per night makes someone 4 times more likely to develop a cold.
3. Take vitamins and supplements
Taking lots of Vitamin C can help protect your cells from oxidative stress. It also helps boost cell function. Hence, increasing the ability of your immune system to fight diseases. You can get Vitamin C from grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, and spinach.
Another vitamin that's vital in improving your immune system is Vitamin D. And this vitamin is available to all for free! The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. So, make sure to spend at least 10 minutes outside each day.
Vitamin B6 (commonly found in salmon, tuna, green veggies, chicken, and hummus) and Vitamin E (found in spinach, seeds, and nuts) can also help make your immune system stronger.
Aside from natural sources, you can also get your daily vitamin needs from supplements, right here at Express Pharmacy.
4. Exercise regularly
Did you know that exercise helps to slow down the release of stress hormones in your body? It can also help flush out bacteria and clear your airways! Exercising regularly can help decrease your risks of developing life-threatening illnesses such as fatty liver disease and heart attack. Keep a healthy exercise regimen to boost your immune system.
5. Always take a shower after your workout
Sweat provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. These harmful organisms can enter your body through cuts and abrasions, causing infections which could compromise your immune system.
6. Always wash your hands
A tested and proven method, proper and regular handwashing can keep you from catching various diseases. It also helps prevent the spread of germs. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds, making sure that every inch is washed thoroughly. You might find singing Happy Birthday or Mary Had a Little Lamb helpful to keep you on track.
Make it a habit to bring hand sanitiser with you in case soap and water is not readily available.
7. Manage your stress
Did you know that stress can affect your body's immune response? High levels of stress cause your body to produce more cytokines and cortisol (also known as stress hormones) than normal. These hormones can trigger inflammation throughout your body --- spreading your defences thin. As a result, you become more prone to developing colds and sores.
Most people who are stressed are also not eating healthily. Many of them don't get enough sleep too! Not eating right and poor sleep can make your immune system weaker.
One of the best ways to manage your stress is through meditation and yoga. Deep breathing techniques help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and lower cortisol levels. Calming your nervous system also helps reduce inflammation.
9. Keep your gut healthy
Did you know that up to 80% of your immune system is found in your gut? That's why eating a healthy diet can do wonders to your immune response. Focus on taking foods that are unprocessed, whole, and rich in antioxidants to reduce inflammation and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and legumes are important too in keeping your gut healthy. So are fermented foods like yoghurt, miso, and kimchi. These probiotics contain live microorganisms that help boost immunity when taken regularly. If you are not familiar with probiotic foods, know that the flavour can be strong at first. You can start with just a teaspoon per day to help you develop a taste for these amazing products.
10. Keep yourself hydrated
Water can do marvellous things to your immune system. Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
11. Limit your alcohol consumption
Alcohol is beneficial in moderate amounts. When abused, however, alcohol can have several adverse effects on your immune system. High amounts of alcohol can weaken your immune system as your body spends all its resources trying to detoxify it.
This study shows that excessive consumption of alcohol can increase your risks of developing liver diseases, certain cancers, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pneumonia.
12. Stop smoking
The chemicals found in cigarettes, namely nicotine, cadmium, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxides can affect the function and growth of your immune cells. According to experts, smoking can make infections worse - especially lung infections. Smoke responsibly or quit the habit entirely.
You are exposed from harmful and even potentially deadly pathogens every day --- even in your home. Your immune system is your natural protection against these. Maintaining a strong and healthy immune system is paramount if you are to protect yourself and your family from any type of virus.