How to Boost Your Immune System for COVID
Is it possible to boost your immune system naturally? The short answer is yes; there are many simple lifestyle changes we can make to improve the health of our immune system.
With the pandemic still not over, many of us want to prioritize our immune health to protect ourselves from the virus.
You can ensure your immune system isn't compromised by maintaining your overall health and wellbeing.
Want to learn how to achieve optimal immune health? Keep on reading to find out.
What Is the Immune System?
The term immune system originates from the Latin word 'immunis,' which means untouched.
Your immune system is the second most complex system in your body, after the nervous system.
A healthy immune system fights foreign invaders (or pathogens) if they enter the body. The immune system is made up of several organs, white blood cells, and antibodies.
Each antibody has a specific job. Antibodies are made from a type of white blood cell called a B cell. If you become infected with a virus, your white blood cells engulf it to try and kill it.
What Compromises the Immune System?
Poor health is the main factor contributing to a weakened immune system. As we get older, our immune system also starts to deteriorate.
The amount of antibodies we produce starts to slow down as we age. Macrophages, which are the white blood cells that fight antigens, also dwindle in production.
Diabetes and other age-related illnesses can also reduce the strength of your immune system at fighting antigens.
Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and a poor diet also contribute to compromised immunity to infections.
How to Boost Your Immune System
If you take steps to boost your immune system for COVID, it's possible you can strengthen your body's ability to fight off the virus.
Want to build a strong immune system? Then you need to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle; you can do this by paying attention to the following lifestyle choices:
1. Get Enough Sleep
Good sleep is responsible for so much of your health. Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep.
Have you ever had a bad night's sleep and been completely dysfunctional the next day? That's because your brain didn't have the chance to filter out the toxins from a day of information filling it. Your body didn't have time to process and recover.
While you sleep, your immune system gets to work producing proteins required to fight infections. If you don't sleep enough, your body will slow its production of infection-fighting proteins.
People who have less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night regularly are more likely to get sick.
How to sleep better? Turn off screens an hour before you go to bed to give your brain a chance to switch off and relax. Light a candle, use lavender oil on your pillow, make your environment as inviting for sleep as possible.
Aim to go to bed at the same time every night and set your alarm for the same time every morning. Let your body get into a rhythm and a natural sleep pattern. If you can get into a routine, you will find you won't need to set the alarm, as you will naturally wake up at the same time every day.
2. Take Regular Exercise
We all know exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight and overall wellbeing. There are many other benefits of exercise, such as boosting the immune system.
Taking regular exercise positively alters the immune system. Scientific studies show that when you take moderate exercise, your cellular immunity is stimulated.
If you take the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every week, you can boost your immune system. If more difficult sports, like running or the gym, aren't for you, try something more gentle, such as brisk walking or yoga.
3. Take Supplements
To have a strong and healthy immune system, you require a wide range of vitamins and minerals. You should be looking to obtain these from your diet.
There are many healthy supplements you can take to boost your immune system. Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium all contain immune-boosting properties.
4. Balance Your Microbiome
Who knew your immune system started in the belly. The bacteria in your gut is called your microbiome. It is responsible for many of the functions of your immune system.
If you have a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, you can help improve immune system functions.
How to balance your microbiome? By eating probiotics, which are the good bacteria found in your gut. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain probiotics.
You can also take a probiotic supplement if you want to improve the balance of bacteria in your gut.
5. Manage Stress
If you are stressed, chances are you aren't sleeping well, and taking care of exercise and a good diet have been put on the back burner.
As you've discovered, poor sleep can seriously compromise your immune system. If stress is causing you to sleep less, it can seriously impact the production of proteins by your white blood cells.
Stress can cause inflammation in the body, which can compromise the health of your immune system.
Try stress-busting practices such as breathing and meditation to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system. This slows the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body and can help you relax.
Listening to calming music or meditating in bed can help you drift off to sleep.
7. Increase Your Vitamin D
Although already mentioned in the supplements section, vitamin D deserves its own mention as integral to immune function.
People with low levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to infections. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine found a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and chances of contracting COVID.
You can increase your vitamin D levels with a supplement or by spending time outside in the sunlight.
8. Eat Immune Boosting Foods
When thinking about 'how to improve my immune system,' take a look at your diet. Good health and robust immune functions, start on your plate.
A varied diet, abundant in fruit and vegetables, filled with vitamins and antioxidants, is important to maintain a healthy body and mind.
Certain foods and spices, in particular, can benefit the immune system:
Dark Leafy Greens
Eating dark leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli can help the gut lining repair itself and protect against pathogens. The phytonutrients found in these plants can help block the toxins we are exposed to from the outside world.
Full of vitamin B, mushrooms also boast lesser-known immune-boosting properties. They have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
The antioxidant properties of berries such as blueberries and raspberries help repair damage in the body caused by oxidative stress.
Berries' powerful properties can also help increase your white blood cells' response to infection.
Vitamin C is important for boosting your body's production of white blood cells. All citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. So try having an orange or grapefruit with your breakfast.
Make tea with fresh lemons; the more vitamin C in your diet, the better the boost for your immune system. Your body doesn't store vitamin C, so you need to eat enough of it every day to stay healthy.
The curcumin in turmeric contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiseptic properties, giving a tired immune system a well-needed boost.
Not sure how to eat turmeric? Add it to a curry or stew, your morning oatmeal, or a smoothie for a spicy kick.
Not only a star when it comes to regulating your body's blood sugar levels, cinnamon can also help to keep your immune system in good shape.
It's anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants. Don't skip making this super spice part of your diet.
An anti-inflammatory, ginger is great if you have a tickle in your throat or feel a cold coming on. Boil it in a pan with some water to make delicious, immune-boosting ginger tea.
An antibacterial superfood, garlic can help supercharge your immune system.
Wellbeing Starts With a Healthy Immune System
If you want to boost your immune system, try some of the lifestyle changes we've covered in this article.
You can't guarantee that a strong immune system will stop you from catching COVID, but there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of severe infection.
Looking after your immune system will improve your overall health, and you will feel noticeable changes if you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Start your journey to a stronger immune system with some immune-boosting supplements.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune diseases, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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The information, knowledge, and experience shared on this website is the opinion of SupplementRelief.com. This site and its content is intended to enhance your knowledge base as YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE DECISIONS in partnership with your qualified health professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products referred to are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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