While strengthening your immune system can be easier said than done, there are some ways that can be used to make sure that you are giving your body a fighting chance.
Poor quality sleep is related to having a higher susceptibility to illness. In a study of 164 healthy adults, those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night. Good sleep hygiene can be increased through various means, such as sleeping in a completely darkened room or using a sleeping mask to block out excess lighting, ensuring that you go to bed at the same time every night, and doing regular exercise.
Manage your stress
Being able to manage your stress levels is key to your mental, physical and immune health. Long-term stress promotes inflammation, as well as imbalances in immune cell function. While you undergo a stressor, especially if it is frequent, long-lasting chronic stress, your body responds by initiating a stress response. This response suppresses your immune system — increasing your chances of infection or illness.
Activities that may help you manage your stress include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, and other mindfulness practices. It can also be beneficial to see a trained and qualified professional to assist you with it - seeing a licensed counsellor or therapist, whether virtually or in person, can assist you to better manage your stress levels.
Sustain a healthy diet
Having a healthy and balanced diet is necessary for cultivating a strong immune system. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Apart from these foods helping the immune system by giving it the energy that it needs, a healthy and balanced diet makes sure that your body is receiving the necessary micronutrients that are needed to maintain your immune system. Limiting added sugars and junk foods, while aiming to improve your gut biome can help to assist your immunity.
Keep well hydrated
Keeping hydrated is not a precaution against germs and viruses specifically, but ensuring that you are not dehydrated is important to your overall health. Drinking enough fluids, especially water, is preferable to sweetened drinks, due to their high sugar content. As a rule of thumb, one should drink when thirsty and stop when that thirst has been quenched. If you are working out or living in a warmer climate, more fluids may need to be consumed. Drinking clean, freshwater assists your body to regulate your temperature, and get rid of waste through urination, perspiration and bowel movements.
Check your vitamin and mineral levels
Many people are unaware that they have vitamin or mineral deficiencies. By checking if you have a deficiency, you can ensure that you are either taking in more through supplements or your diet and thereby assist the support that you are likely to give your immune system. Foods such as garlic, fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense and may assist to strengthen your body’s general immune response.
Overall, caring for one’s immune system is caring for one’s overall health. Taking small steps towards the formation of a healthier lifestyle may assist in boosting the immune system.