Many of us are familiar with the saying that prevention is better than a cure. This is especially the case when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and fighting off colds and flus. Of course the best way to constantly remain healthy is to have a robust immune system. Some of us are naturally inclined to be this way, but by following a few different simple tips and tricks you can naturally build up your own resistance to help fight off illness, boosting your immunity and keeping your body in optimal health.
1. Get enough sleep:
Sleep is essentially your bodies way of recharging it’s batteries. Ensuring that you aim to get between 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night will allow your body to repair and regenerate. Even a slight lack of sleep can weaken immune function, making you more susceptible to infections, not to mention that you will likely underperform at whatever do, be it work, study, exercise. Literally everything.
2. Stay hydrated:
There is far more education provided around the importance of proper hydration days. Given the body is around 60% water, it is crucial for carrying nutrients to cells and flushing out toxins which in turn helps maintain optimal immune function. You should aim to consume at least eight glasses of water per day, and more if you engage in physical activity or live in a particularly hot climate.
3. Manage stress:
Chronic stress can suppress the immune system, leaving you vulnerable to illnesses. It can sometimes also creep its way into other aspects of your life, such as impacting sleep and diet. It’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in sports and hobbies which you enjoy. Consulting professional guidance is also a good idea, especially if self-care exercises are not working for you.
4. Spend time outdoors:
Exposing yourself to natural sunlight can boost your immune system. Natural sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which plays a vital role in immune function. Clinical tests conducted in countries with limited daylight hours have shown the correlation between sunlight happiness and health. So you should aim to spend at least 15-30 minutes outside each day, preferably in the morning or late afternoon.
5. Embrace probiotics:
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut. These are particularly beneficial to people who suffer from digestive issues, such as IBS. Being able to have your stomach process food as efficiently as possible means that you will have more energy throughout the day and is also closely linked to improved immune function. By including fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi in your diet to promote a diverse and thriving gut microbiome, and has also been linked to a longer life span for people who eat these foods.
6. Practice intermittent fasting:
Intermittent fasting, a pattern of eating that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating, has been shown to boost immune function. But it’s important to note this is not for everyone especially if you are exerting a lot of energy throughout the day. Fasting can help reduce inflammation and supports cellular repair. Consider implementing intermittent fasting under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
7. Incorporate immune-boosting herbs:
Certain herbs possess immune-boosting properties. By including herbs like echinacea, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and oregano into your cooking or even as supplements can help strengthen your body’s defenses, as well as make your meal taste fantastic!
8. Engage in regular exercise:
It’s no surprise that exercise is known to improve overall health and enhance immune function. Aiming for a minimum of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By performing regular physical activity, you can expect to see improvements such as increased blood circulation, immune response, and a reduction in the risk of chronic diseases.
9. Enjoy a bit of laughter and humour:
Laughter truly is the best medicine. Numerous studies have shown that laughter can enhance your immune function by increasing the production of antibodies and activating immune cells. It helps boost your mood, diminishes the effects of pain, and combats stress. So it’s important to find and include humour, watch comedy shows, talk with some friends and engage in activities that make you laugh.
10. Practice deep breathing exercises:
Deep breathing exercises have been used for hundreds of years as a way to channel energy and manage stress. As well as these benefits engaging in deep breathing exercises can also promote relaxation, and of course improve immune function. Some of these breathing techniques include diaphragmatic breathing, alternate nostril breathing, or guided meditation which will help boost your body’s defenses.
11. Stay connected to friends and family:
Maintaining strong social connections can positively impact your immune health, but most of us require a different amount of interaction. Loneliness and social isolation have proven to be linked to a weakened immunity so by cultivating positive relationships with friends and family, participating in group activities, and joining clubs or organizations that align with your interests are all ways to be exposed to human interaction.
12. Optimise vitamin and mineral intake:
Certain vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in supporting immune function. These supplements help provide anything which might be missing from your diet. Ensuring you include a variety of immune-boosting foods in your diet, such as citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins is a great way to ensure your body has everything it needs to run at its best. Of course for a more concise understanding of vitamins your body might be lacking please consult your healthcare professional.
While all the above tips might not appeal to everyone, it’s always worth having an open mind and trying these out one by one. There will always be some of these techniques that will work better and show a more noticeable improvement in some compared to others. So it’s always best to find what works best for you, but by incorporating these little-known ways can help you become more resilient, energetic and lead an overall healthier lifestyle.
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