Updated: Jun 11, 2021
The best way to keep your immune system strong is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This blog will share the various practices that you should implement into your lifestyle, as well as foods that are beneficial in boosting your immunity.
1. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is closely related to our immunity. Lacking sufficient sleep or quality of sleep could make you more susceptible to getting sick or catching a virus. Sleep is necessary for your immune system to release protective cytokines which help during times of stress or when you have an infection or inflammation as they are required in controlling the growth and activity of immune system cells and blood cells.
The optimal amount of sleep for adults is 7-8 hours of sleep, teenagers require 9-10 hours , while school-age children should have 10 or more hours of sleep.
2. Exercise Moderately & Manage Your Stress
While extended periods of intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can boost your immune system. With consistent exercise, inflammation is reduced and your immune cells can be regularly regenerated. Exercise increases blood flow and circulation which transports the white blood cells in your immune system around the body as required. When you exercise, bacteria is cleared out of your respiratory-tract, which lowers the chance of catching a cold or other illness. The brief increase in body temperature due to exercising may help to kill bacteria and viruses, thus helping the body to fight against infections.
Some examples of moderate exercises you could do are 20-30 minute walks, brisk-walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, swimming, light hiking, and going to the gym every other day.
In addition, experiencing extra stress weakens your immune system and increases the risk of getting sick. Managing your stress may help you in combating germs and infection.
Some stress management techniques you could implement in your life are breathing exercises, yoga, moderate exercises, and meditation.
3. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential in carrying oxygen to your cells which ensures properly functioning systems. It also removes and prevents the build up of toxins in the body. Dehydration can lead to headaches which can hamper your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness.
To replenish your water supply for your body to function properly and prevent dehydration, you should drink enough fluids to achieve a pale yellow urine colour. It is recommended to drink at least 8-12 glasses or 2-3 liters of water a day.
Drinking alkaline water can also boost your immunity. Ailments can be created or worsened by high acidity in the body, thus we should drink alkaline water to balance the pH of the blood and body. Alkaline water can deeply penetrate each cell for better hydration, improves blood flow and helps carry nutrients and oxygen to every cell while expelling toxins. This boosts our immune system as our cells are stronger and can resist foreign pathogens and diseases. Alkaline water also contains antioxidants which fight off free radicals that can harm cells and lead to illness, as well as vitamins and minerals that are crucial for antibody production, thus strengthening your immune system.
4. Best Foods to Boost Immunity
The body needs regular nourishment, essential vitamins and trace minerals for strong immunity. You should eat a diet rich in vitamin C and E which may shorten the duration of the common cold, foods which contain flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and omega-3 fatty acids which fight inflammation and auto-immune diseases.
Whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are full of nutrients you need. Plant food’s fiber feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut which strengthens your immunity and prevents harmful pathogens from going into your body through the digestive tract. You could take a probiotic supplement or consume more fermented foods which contain probiotics which are beneficial gut bacteria that helps your immune cells distinguish between normal, healthy and harmful invader organisms like bacteria and viruses.
Here is a list of best foods for boosting your immunity:
Foods with vitamins C, E, A and D:
vegetables like broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, sweet potatoes, tomato, beets, carrots, and red bell peppers
fruits like citrus fruits, apple, mango, blueberry, avocado, papaya, and kiwi
nuts and seeds like almonds and sunflower seeds
Foods with flavonoids:
Foods with omega-3 fatty acids:
oily fish like salmon and tuna
What you should drink:
water or alkaline water
fruit and veggie juices
honey ginger lemon tea
bone broths like chicken soup
Eating a variety is the key to having proper nutrition. Consuming just one of these foods is insufficient to help combat illnesses. You should take into consideration the recommended daily intake and serving sizes to ensure you don’t get excessive amounts or lack a particular nutrient.
In conclusion, the key to having a strong immune system is to lead a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. So start making these lifestyle and dietary changes today!