The human body’s immune system is its best defense against disease. It is also needed to help the body recover from injuries. However, there are a variety of factors that can result in a compromised immune system. The first step to facing these potential problems is to identify them. Some of the factors that can weaken the immune system include stress, bad eating habits, lack of sleep, and unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Eating the right foods and getting the proper nutrition are the keys to a healthy immune system. Vitamins E and C, probiotics, beta-glucans, catechins, and soluble fiber all help build up immune cells that help boost the immune system. The live microorganisms found in yogurt are known as probiotic bacteria. These ‘good bacteria’ help to restore the balance in your gut and prime your immune system to defend itself against pathogenic organisms. Soluble fibers that help fight inflammation can be found in foods such as cucumber, celery, nuts and beans. Fava beans are a rich source of catechins, which have been found to improve one’s immune response as well. Beta-glucans, which can be found in mushrooms, and the selenium in seafood both boost the immune system.
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Chronic stress has the ability to make the body more susceptible to infection by reducing its white blood cell count. In addition, it reduces the strength of T-cells, which are another important part of the immune system. Moreover, stress causes the body to redistribute immune system cells to the skin and lymph nodes, taking them away from the rest of the body, where an infection may be lurking. One key method for reducing stress includes avoiding conversations, people, environments or situations which are reliable sources of stress. Reducing one’s number of chores and trimming to-do lists is another major stress reduction technique.
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Living a healthy and active lifestyle is critical to improving one’s immune system. One way to do that is to put a stop to harmful habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. Positive healthy steps that people should adopt include drinking plenty of water and frequent hand washing. Dehydration allows pathogens to enter the body and is problematic to the body’s defense system. People who have chronic health problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should work with their physician to keep their condition under control.
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Exercising in moderation can help give the immune system a boost. Approximately twenty minutes of exercise a day is sufficient to take advantage of the benefits. White blood cells, which combat bacteria and viruses, travel throughout the body faster when a person exercises. In addition, exercise lowers the hormones that are released as a result of stress. Elevated body heat from exercise may also reduce the amount of bacterial growth. It is important to note that too much exercise can have the opposite effect and reduce one’s immune response.
Excess weight and obesity have been found to aggravate a number of problems, including heart disease. In addition obesity is detrimental to the immune system and prevents it from protecting the body the way that it should. Exercising and a healthy diet are not only a good way to reduce one’s weight, but also improve the performance of the immune system. Even moderate weight loss is capable of significantly strengthening the human body’s ability to fight off diseases.
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One of the more unexpected ways to improve one’s immunity is to socialize more frequently. It may seem that socializing more would increase one’s chances of becoming ill, but according to professional studies the opposite is true. These studies indicate that people who socialize were less likely to get sick or stayed sick for a shorter period. People who were more solitary, however, had weaker immune systems.
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When a person does not get enough sleep, he or she is more susceptible to illness from viruses and bacteria. In addition, the time needed for recovering from these conditions may also take longer if a person has not received an adequate amount of sleep. Ideally, for maximum benefit an adult should receive no less than seven hours of sleep a day. The amount of sleep needed rises the younger a person is. For example, a teen should get between nine and ten hours of restful sleep, while younger children should aim for at least ten.