Information on immune system boosters, weak immune systems, infections and illnesses.
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What are Immune System Boosters?
The immune system is a complex and fantastic body system that protects us from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other dangerous pathogens or germs. It’s easy to take our immune systems for granted, until something goes wrong.
In the past, medical science primarily focused on ways of curing existing illness and disease, but today there is a growing emphasis on preventing illness by boosting immune system strength.
How can Immune System Boosters Help?
Boosting your immune function can help keep your body in peak condition to fight illness and destroy infections, viruses, and bacteria. There are many ways to help keep your immune response functioning at its highest potential, even during peak cold and flu season.
Healthy and Balanced Diet
Diet is one of the fundamental aspects of strengthening the immune system – something most of us know and yet so few of us properly follow. Here are some specific foods to try and include in your diet for added nutrients and vitamins:
- Foods containing selenium. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, but tuna is also a good source and probably easier to include in your diet. Selenium inhibits the formation of free radicals. It does this by activating an inhibitory enzyme that halts this process.
- Vitamin C is another essential requirement for the optimal functioning of the immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin C include kiwi fruit, guavas, and red peppers. Oranges are also good sources of Vitamin C, but are as not quite as rich as we are all inclined to think they are! Other citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamin C, as well as the antioxidant beta-carotene.
- Garlic not only has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, but also has more than 70 sulfur-containing compounds that help the body make other immune-stimulating compounds such as cysteine and glutathione.
- Cultured or fermented foods such as yogurt provides the body with the ‘good’ bacteria that help to fight off the ‘bad’ bacteria.
- Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, to keep hydrated will keep all body systems healthy, not only the immune system.
- Healthy fats are also necessary and these are found in things like olive oil, avocados, fatty fish and nuts.
- Zinc plays an important role in normal growth and increases antibody production. It can be found in seafood, eggs, turkey and pumpkin seeds. Wheat-germ is also a good source of zinc as well as Vitamin E.
- Vitamin B6 helps with the production of antibodies, and good sources include bananas, carrots, lentils, tuna, salmon, sunflower seeds, and wholegrain flour.
- A good multivitamin can help to replenish these levels of vital vitamins and minerals that we need.
- Use organically-grown foods where possible, as they do contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. Organic is not a new concept – until pesticides and the like were developed, this was all that people ate!
While it’s great to ensure you are getting enough of the healthy foods, it is also important to remember that unhealthy foods depress the immune system. Here are some foods to try and avoid:
- Foods high in sugar such as sweets. Sugar is well known to depress certain cells of the immune system (such as macrophages and NK cells)
- Highly processed and refined foods
- Foods high in hydrogenated oils
- Fried foods
- Try to avoid white flour, breads and pasta and opt for the healthier whole-wheat alternative
Keeping fit and active helps the body to circulate lymph throughout the body. Simply 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can help the body to optimally defend itself.
Sufficient Amounts of Quality Sleep
Too little sleep or poor-quality sleep weakens the immune system. This leaves us more susceptible to other diseases and disorders.
People suffering from insomnia often also suffer from other physical ailments. They tend to get sick more frequently, have more allergies, and may even have diabetes or another autoimmune disease.
During sleep, our bodies recharge. It’s important to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night to keep the immune system in good working order.
Good Hygiene Habits
One of the most effective ways to strengthen the immune system is to bolster the first line of defense: preventing harmful cells from entering the body. All body openings are potential entry points for germs, including the eyes, mouth, and nose. The best strategy is to wash hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the toilet. Remember these other healthy habits, too:
- Cover your mouth when yawning, sneezing or coughing
- Don’t share cups and things that have been in contact with the saliva of another (especially if they are sick)
- Keep your kitchen clean and wash dishes in hot soapy water to kill germs
- Avoid sharing wash cloths and towels
- Practice safe sex
Ongoing stress places an incredible strain on the immune system and makes you more susceptible to illnesses going around. Make it a priority to look after your emotional health. Find ways to reduce your stress levels, and find relaxation techniques you enjoy. Anxiety and depression have similarly bad effects on the immune system. Try to resolve emotional issues before they affect your health. Laughter is a great way to boost the immune system, as is meditation, yoga, and other stress- relieving exercises.
Being overweight or underweight can be unhealthy and affect the body’s ability to fight illness. The best preventive measure is to maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re overweight, try to cut down on calorie intake. Reduced calorie intake improves the maintenance and production of T-cells in the body, while excess body fat negatively impacts white blood cells’ ability to fight off infection and illness.
If you decide to lose weight, take a balanced, healthy approach. Yo-yo dieting is detrimental to good health.
Review your medical history and family history to give you an idea of your body’s potential weaknesses. Then take necessary measures to prevent future illness. Regularly scheduled medical and dental checks, and take an active role in maintaining your health.
While no supplement can perfect immune system function by itself, supplements can play a role in your overall immune support strategy. For example, ImmunityPlus™ for Vitality & Health is a natural herbal supplement for a healthy immune system and routine cellular health.